To tackle these questions we have to recognize that both are very open and it is probably very hard to have a definite answer. My purpose with this essay is to analyze what I consider to be the most important aspects of these questions taking into account my research, background and experiences.
I will try first to address both questions and at the end present conclusions that interrelate the answers to both of them.
Why are some countries rich while others remain poor?
The fact is that we live in a world of inequality, and the gap between rich countries and poor countries is growing as measured by some statistics. According to a recent World Bank study, the average income in the 20 richest countries is 37 times the average income in the 20 poorest countries - and that gap has doubled in the past 20 years.
Why is it that some countries have grown spectacularly rich while others remain miserably poor? The reasons include, but are not limited to, history, geography, culture, politics, and probably random facts. David Landes notes that historically, hot countries have been poorer than cold countries. Tropical climates breed diseases such as malaria, leprosy, African river blindness, and parasites that invade and weaken bodies. Heat itself saps energy. Cold, is conducive to greater human productivity and therefore prosperity. However, the climate effect on the wealth of nations may be diminishing as the "knowledge economy" becomes more important, and as medical technology eradicates diseases. Singapore, with a hot, tropical climate, today has a higher per capita income than Britain.
War and corruption cause poverty, as governments redirect resources from health care and education towards the war machine, or to lining their own pockets. So does using the talents and productivity of only half the population: countries in which women are