• Question: 12 why do we have poor countries

    Asked by 923fasp24 to Stewart, Miriam, Marton, Laura, Kathryn, David on 5 Nov 2018.
    • Photo: David Ho

      David Ho answered on 5 Nov 2018:


      I don’t think we can point to any single reason why some countries are poorer than others. The history of a country is very important: a lot of poorer countries were treated badly by richer countries in the past (and indeed still are today), which caused them to be unequal. I imagine factors like natural resources, climate, war and government also have a big part to play.

      This isn’t the area that I normally work in, so my guesses are quite possibly as good as yours, and I don’t know which factors are the most important out of the things I’ve mentioned (and I’m sure there are many that I’ve missed)

      Hopefully one of things that scientific and technological advances can address is the inequalities between people in the world.

    • Photo: Laura Kent

      Laura Kent answered on 6 Nov 2018:


      I agree with David. The wealth of a country is very complicated and is often affected by how some countries have exploited others for years.

      I think it is changing as well, one of the great things about new scientific advancements and the development of new technologies is that we can start to address these inequalities. For example, making sure everyone across the world has access to clean and safe water which is what my PhD was trying to address.

    • Photo: Marton Olbei

      Marton Olbei answered on 6 Nov 2018:


      Sadly my knowledge about economics is limited, so I’m not sure if I can tell you exactly why – as far as I know there are a lot of reasons which come into this. A country’s historical past, natural resources, diplomatic relations, or even geographic location plays a huge part, but I think it’s really hard to pin down the one thing that makes a country rich or poor.

      The great thing about science is that we gather knowledge for everyone, no matter where you live.

    • Photo: Stewart Martin-Haugh

      Stewart Martin-Haugh answered on 9 Nov 2018:


      It’s a tricky one. It comes down to economics, which is complicated (in my opinion) because you have a system made up of lots of people, many of whom also know economics and are trying to apply it.

      It’s like putting rats in a maze, but the rats are also maze experts, or something…

      So really physics is the easy science: particles behave in exactly predictible ways and don’t mess up the system 🙂

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