First world countries retain dominance through improved nutrition?

A question inspired by this thread about “Teenagers Physically Maturing Faster Now?”.

Will first world countries retain their first world status for longer and third world countries remain third world simply because the improved nutrition in first world countries means that the population matures faster and seem to be growing / bigger stronger. Whilst third world countries are stuck in cycles of malnutrition / famine etc?

Seems an awfully sad and depressing scenario. Can someone please tell me that it is wrong.

You could throw that comparison to rich countries too… the poor people there have bad nutrition and health care which keeps them from developing as well as rich kids.

I think it’s more complicated than that, but certainly nutrition plays a role in success vs. stagnation. Poorer countries that suffer from famines often have a very low enrollment in schools – children are kept at home to work the fields. If you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, physics isn’t exactly a top priority. Without education, these children are unable to progress very far up the economic ladder. This robs their country of thousands of potential doctors, engineers, highly skilled workers, and qualifed lawmakers, thusly perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

Exploition, war, illiteracy, disease, dictatorships all play a role in keeping a Third World country Third World.

A vicious circle then?

I vaguely remember my Indian History and Economics of Developing Countries lecturers talking about the birth rate in third world countries. Something along the line of the higher the level education a woman receives the less children she will have. Also the children were more likely to survive because the mother had more education in nutrition and related issues. That is just a vague memory though and I don’t have a cite.


Anyone else with some input?

Do you have any reason to believe that faster maturation is in any way positively correlated with dominance, success or ‘first world’ status, either for individuals or nations?

WRT individuals Desmond Morris, author of “Third Chimpanzee” and “Guns, Germs & Steel”, believes that exactly the opposite is true. While he admits the evidence is lacking in many key areas it seems at least plausible that earlier maturation leads to increased social problems and decreased physical and mental potential. He points to examples of the Watusi where physical size is quite impressive and yet sexual development starts later than in western societies. Teenage related social problems are low by western standards and remarkably low by the standards of African cultures integrating into a western system.

I really can’t see any reason for believing that having a population of 15 years olds that are physically fully mature but mentally incapable of handling their physical strength and reproductive potential as being a bonus to our society.

We also know that absence of close male contact, something we deem to be a social problem, is at least partially and perhaps largely responsible for the increase in early menarche amongst girls seen in the last 20 years. It’s hard to see how that gives any society a benefit.

<<WRT individuals Desmond Morris, author of “Third Chimpanzee” and “Guns, Germs & Steel”, believes that exactly the opposite is true.>>

How odd, since Jared Diamond wrote both of those books, and won the Putlitzer.

um - PULITZER (for G,G & S)