The industrialization and technology of the worlds higher income nations has a negative effect on the plight of the worlds poorer nations. The high-income nations industrialization encourages child labor, poor living conditions in exchange for material things, and higher world pollution. When the higher income nations became industrialized in the 1800s, the lower income nations were slow to catch up. Now, the low and middle-income countries are trying to catch up to the rapid growth that the world powers had.
One drawback to this is many families, to earn as much money as possible, encourage their children to go to work in sweat shops, for little pay. This puts them at a great risk of accident, and shortens their life span by causing them to toil endlessly in a hot, vermin infested, disease rampant factory whilst still children. The sociological inequality illustrated by the norm of living for children in different countries is astounding. In the United States, children spend their summers in front of a television or computer, swimming in the public pool, or hanging out with their friends.
Children in low-income countries, such as those in Southeast Asia spend their summer days in a factory for ten hours, making tennis shoes on insufficient food, and for few dollars a day. If you were to walk down the street in one of the worlds middle-income countries, like those in Eastern Europe, you would see signs of the (wealthy) Western nations all around. Teenagers would be sporting Levis and Nikes, stereos would be blasting music by the Spice Girls and the Beatles, and families would aspire to drive someday a Jeep into the driveway of their hovel.
However, when you get back to their residence, the similarity to the West would end. Running water would not be safe to drink without going through a stringent filtering process, space in the cramped home would be at a premium, and the home itself may most likely be in decrepit shape. The striving for Western goods puts personal hygiene and safe, comfortable living space to the back seat in favor of displays of conspicuous consumption.
The image that the high-income countries projects to those of lower income is that of nations where everyone owns a car and commutes to work in the city, while enjoying the pleasantries of the wealthy. Many people in middle-income countries drive cars that lack the pollution controlling devices required of cars in high-income countries. Although fewer in number, these cars have the capacity to do much more harm to the environment. For example, Mexico City often has a warning that the pollution level in the city (due to emissions from vehicles) is unsafe for human breathing.
Due to the influence of wealthy high-income nations, many of the middle and low-income nations have reversed priorities. Instead of mimicking the ways of those in the wealthy countries at the expense of their own societies, they should be trying to improve their economies in order to compete with the high-income countries. In most high-income countries, few children, due to successful birth control, is the rule. However, in many middle and low-income countries the people lack the knowledge or resources to effective birth control, and many children for each family is standard.
If the population growth continues, there is going to be a substantial lack of food resources for all of the worlds population. If all of the societies in the world were as advanced as the United States, the world would be different in many aspects. The technology that could be created by the resources of all of the worlds people (as opposed to just a few rich in the high-income countries) could possibly solve many of the worlds problems, including pollution, overpopulation, and nuclear proliferation.
If all of the worlds societies were at the same level, we would have a lot more cooperation between them, as there would not be as much conflict. I am optimistic towards the future changes of the world, as I believe that the societies of the world are working toward a more even sociological playing field and greater equality of resources for the worlds people. If the low and middle-income nations work toward curbing population explosion and work toward strengthening their economies, I believe that the world could possibly, in the next 200 years, be made of one homogeneous, wealthy culture.