Characteristic of an Underdeveloped Country describes, Some of the characteristics of an underdeveloped country as follows.
An underdeveloped country is poverty-ridden. Poverty is reflected in low per capita income. Absolute poverty is measured not only by low income but also by malnutrition, poor health, clothing, shelter, and lack of education.
Thus absolute poverty is reflected in the low living standard of the people. In many countries, food is the major item of consumption and about 80 percent of the income is spent on it as compared with 20 percent in advanced countries.
People mostly take cereals and other starches to the total absence of nutritional foods, such as meat, eggs, fish, and dairy products.
People live in extremely unsanitary conditions the reason is poor nutrition, unsafe water, poor sanitation, uninformed parents, and lack of immunization.
Services like education and health hardly flourish. Moreover, the type of education being imported to the majority of the school and college-going children is ill-suited to the development needs of such countries.
Thus the vast majority of the people in LDCs are ill-fed, ill-cloth, and ill-educated.
Agriculture the main occupation
In underdeveloped countries two-third or more of the people live in rural areas and their main occupation is agriculture.
Agriculture, as the main occupation is mostly unproductive. It is carried on an old fashion with obsolete and outdated methods of production.
The average landholdings are as low as 1 to 3 hectares which usually support 10 to 15 people per hectare.
Such countries mainly specialize in the production of raw materials and foodstuffs, yet some also specialize in non-agriculture primary productions, i.e., minerals. For example, Pakistan in Cotton, Bangladesh in Jute, India in tea, and Brazil in Coffee.
A Dualistic Economy
Almost all underdeveloped countries have a dualistic. One is the market economy, the other in the subsistence economy. One is in and near the towns, the other is in the rural areas.
Once is developed and other is less-developed. Central to the towns, the market economy is ultra-modern with all the amenities of life.
Characteristic of an Underdeveloped Country
Dualism is also characterized by the existence of an advanced industrial system and an indigenous backward agriculture system.
Both perpetuate unemployment and disguised unemployment. There is also financial dualism consisting of an unorganized money market charging very high-interest rates on loans and the unorganized money market with low-interest rates and abundant credit facilities.
Underdeveloped Natural Resources
Instead of saying that underdeveloped countries are absolutely deficient in natural resources, it is more appropriate to say that they have not been successful in overcoming the scarcity of natural resources by appropriate changes in technology and social and economic organization.
Characteristic of an Underdeveloped Country
Generally speaking, they are not deficient in land, mineral, water, forest, or power resources.
Thus underdeveloped countries do possess resources but they remain unutilized, underutilized, or miss-utilized due to various inhibitions such as their inaccessibility, lack of technical small extent of the market.
Underdeveloped countries differ greatly in demographic position and trends. Diversity exists in the size, density, age-structure, and rate of growth of the population.
Kenley side writes: “the womb is slower than the bomb but it may prove just as deadly. Suffocation rather than incineration may mark the end of the human stony.”
Unemployment & Disguised Unemployment
In underdeveloped countries, there is vast open unemployment and disguised unemployment.
Unemployment is spreading with urbanization and the spread of education. But the industrial sector has failed to expand along with the growth of labor forces thereby increasing urban unemployment, disguised unemployment is not voluntary but involuntary persons in such countries.
In underdeveloped countries, particular manifestations of economic backwardness are low labor efficiency, factor immobility, limited specialization in occupation and in trade, economic ignorance, values, and social structure that minimize the incentives for economic change.
There is also occupational immobility of labor due to the joint family system and the caste system. The dignity of labor is conspicuously absent.
Lack of enterprise & Initiative
Over-reliance on commodity exports is one of the main reasons for the severe pressure on economies.
Entrepreneurship is inhibited by the social system which denies opportunities for creative faculties the thin supply of entrepreneurs in such countries is also attributed to the Increased risk of new business growth and uncertainty lead to lack of infrastructure
Further, entrepreneurship is hindered by technological backwardness in underdeveloped countries.
Insufficient Capital Equipment
Insufficient capital equipment is another general characteristic of such countries underdeveloped countries are characterized as “capital-poor or low-saving and low-investing” economies.
The root cause of this capital deficiency is the problem of under-saving. Another reason as to why the saving ratio does not rise with the increased level of income, in the long run, is the “demonstration effect.
Underdeveloped countries are also in the backward state of technology their technological backwardness is reflected firstly, in the high average cost of production. Secondly, in high labor-output and capital-output ratios as a rule.
Thirdly, in the predominance of unskilled and untrained workers. Lastly, in the large amount of capital equipment required to produce a national output, this technological backwardness is able to technological dualism.
Foreign Trade Orientation
Underdeveloped economies are generally foreign trade-oriented. These primary products and imports of consumer goods and machinery.
One of the reasons for the severe pressure on economies is its over-reliance on basic commodity exports.
The foreign trade-orientation also manifests itself through the flow of foreign capital to underdeveloped countries.
It plays an important role in the development and expansion of the export sector.