The North-South Divide is a political and socio-economic division and is not based on geography. It is a bifurcation between the wealthy nations and the rest of the world. The developed nations are known as “the North” while the rest of the nations are referred to as “the South”. Most of the nations in the Northern Hemisphere are Global North but a few from the Southern Hemisphere are also in the same category. The members of the G8, and four out of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are located in the North. However, as nations of the South develop, they become eligible to enter the north.
The history of the North-South divide dates back to the Cold War era. The countries were classified as East and West on the basis of their economic and developmental status. China and the Soviet Union formed the East while the United States and its allies were the West. There was another set of nations known as the Third World Countries. These countries were neither aligned with the East or the West. Over time, some Second World Countries became a part of the First World and some became a part of the Third World. Thus, as per the new classification, the First World was classified as North while the Third World as South.
The United States and Canada form part of the North, as does almost all of Europe. Australia and New Zealand, which are not a part of the Northern Hemisphere, are also a part of the North. Russia also comes under it. The Asian nations of Singapore and Japan form part of the North. Interestingly, China’s Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, have been included in the North whereas China is placed in the South.
Some of the characteristics of the north include: It is much richer, has surplus food and shelter, and a robust educational system. It has been estimated that a majority of the manufacturing industries are located in the North.
Meanwhile, developing Asian nations, Africa, as well as Latin America form a part of the South. Some of the features of the South are political instability, lack of advanced technology, food and shelter issues, and foreign exchange earnings depending on primary product exports, to name a few. Nations that make up the south include India, China, Qatar, Saudi, Arabia, Thailand, and many other nations. While North Korea is a part of the South, the much more technologically advanced South Korea is included in the North.
Though a part of the South, today China is the world’s second-largest economy in terms of nominal GDP. Meanwhile, many Middle Eastern nations have also become highly prosperous. A case in point is Qatar, which has the highest per capita income in the world.
(Data sourced from International Telecommunication Union)
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