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Economic Development is the increase in ones standards of living within the country’s population with sustained growth from a simple, low-income economy to a complete opposite, high-income economy. The secondary impact of this Economic Development allows Social Development to take place, as the government is able to increasingly invest in the population’s standard of living. Inequality is the extent of differences between populations or people. In this case, Inequality is the Socio-Economic differential gap within or between populations or individuals. Although there are inequalities between different nations, there can also be inequalities within a specific country. Italy for example is classified as an MEDC but it still has many people living in poverty. In addition, Development may or may not increase inequalities within Italy.

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Development increases economic inequalities. Geographically, The north of Italy brings in more tourists due to the mountains in the Alps and the spatial distances to other countries like France, Monaco and Switzerland. Therefore economically, the tourists who don’t want to travel far can travel to the north of Italy and increase the economic development of this area of Italy. Therefore, over time, the north of Italy becomes increasingly attractive to tourists as it further develops. According to Myrdal in the Core Periphery Model, “ The spatial inequalities are as an integral part of economic development”. Therefore, as development increases in the core, it will eventually lead to inequalities and the formation of the development gap. A reason why the Mezzogiorno hasn’t been developing is because it has poor accessibility and therefore, there’s a lack of trade, which can help to economically develop the country.

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Therefore, there is little foreign direct investment. As a result, this region has high levels of unemployment. Since 1994, the Mezzogiorno has lost 2 million jobs in the textile industry due to comparative advantage shift in the north. This meant that mean unemployment rates in Mezzogiorno were above 10% and mean unemployment rates in the north were below 7%. As the levels of unemployment was rising in the south, 80,000 young economically active people migrated out of the south and into the north where there were more jobs and an increase in development. This increase in development meant that the mean GNP per capita in the north was above 20,000€ and the mean GNP per capita in the south was below 15,000€. These factors further increases inequalities between the south and the north of Italy as well as increasing economic development in the north and decreasing economic development in the south.

Development can also increase inequalities in a social point of view. As development increases in the north, health care facilities get more technically advanced and store more resources, which the patients need. This helps to increase life expectancy in the north, as there are less ill people and diseases spread less often. As life expectancy increases, the north becomes increasingly attractive to the people living in the south and therefore whole families are more likely to migrate to the north to have a better livelihood. The north experiences a mean infant mortality of below 9 deaths per 1000 and the south experiences a mean infant mortality of above 11 deaths per 1000.

Better health care facilities in the north help to reduce infant mortality rates, which allow more babies to be born and less psychological trauma occurs from infant mortality. The increase in infrastructure in the north of Italy can also improve other resources needed like food, water and education. Education is also a main driving factor for families as parents would like their kids to become well educated so they’ll be able to get a good job and earn money which will eventually help to provide for the parents in later life and increase their social well being. All of these factors help to increase government spending in these core regions of northern Italy, which helps to further socially develop these areas, which increases social inequalities within Italy as a whole.

However, economic development as a whole in Italy has reduced inequalities as technological advances has helped to build infrastructure in more remote corners of the Mezzogiorno and has also helped to transport resources like bricks, food, water and health care to the places its most needed and therefore Mezzogiorno is moving up the economic development stairway. According to Rostow’s Model, some subsistence economic regions have the pre-conditions for take-off as some areas drive to maturity. As the core regions in Italy expand, they increasingly need more and more resources. Therefore, over time, the periphery regions in parts of the Mezzogiorno will be invested in by the government to increase the economic development of the core regions.

This will therefore help to also increase the economic development of the periphery regions as jobs are created. However, this industrial development will need to be managed in order for the investments to be used in the right places to decrease unemployment rates. Friedman illustrated this idea in his cumulative causation model, which shows that economic development would theoretically improve the development gap between regions and reduce inequalities within a country.

Social development has also reduced inequalities in Italy. Although there is a difference between the mean infant mortality rate in the south and the mean infant mortality rate in the north, the difference is only about 2 more babies per 1000 dying in Mezzogiorno. In addition, the difference between the life expectancy in the south and the life expectancy in the north isn’t that great and therefore, the incentive to move to the north isn’t a matter of urgency to the population. In addition, the government also subsidises the farmers in the south in order to maintain levels of cheap agricultural produce and reduce the rural/urban migration. This means that the quality of life is improved as inequalities throughout the country get reduced due to increased development.

In conclusion, I believe that development initially has the potential to increase inequalities spatially within a country as areas of economic prosperity develop and other areas are left behind. However, I believe that over time, the less developed areas will eventually increase their development by economically benefitting from these core areas and therefore gain the infrastructure needed to help to develop their own settlements. This development is primarily seen to be economic as this is what the country needs to further drive its development. However, the secondary effects of this development will eventually also benefit the country socially. The initial development can also sometimes help to reduce inequalities for one area, but at the same time increase inequalities for another area. In addition, if one region suffers from inequality, it is more likely to suffer from multiple inequalities as they’re linked together. Therefore, each individual country will have different types of development and different types of inequalities that will affect one another.

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Kylie Garcia

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