Thursday, April 28, 2011


How weather decides economic prosperity!

Why are some nations rich and other poor? Ask this question to a hundred economists and you would receive one hundred different answers. And in all likelihood, their answers would be laced with complex theories and difficult mathematical models to drive home their point. Amidst all this economics jargon, a few parameters are generally swept under the carpet, due to their sheer freaky nature.

It is very interesting to note that almost all prosperous countries are located in the temperate zone with cold climate while poor countries are tropical nations with hot and humid climate. Is there any rationale behind this or is it a mere coincidence? Well, it seems there is a positive cogent correlation behind this consistent reality. Numerous scientific studies have shown that cold climate is favourable for greater human productivity. All the major world powers that have emerged during the last millennium have been Europeans nations. Th ey have had higher productivity that gave them rapid advancement in technology, education, art and culture, all thanks to their climatic conditions! Another reason for the prosperity of cold countries is that a small population sits on a huge resource pile. In Canada for example, its 33 million strong population is exploiting multi-million dollars worth resource base of minerals, oil, hydroelectricity, forests and farmland.

With respect to most economic indicators, these nations have been way ahead of tropical civilisations like Arabs, Indians or Chinese. Africa and South America are located in the tropical zone and high temperature in these continents make survival a challenging task. Cameroon, Chad and Congo in Africa and Bahamas, Barbados and Haiti in Latin America are some of the authoritarian regimes which are high in poverty and low in human development index. Even Asian and Middle Eastern countries located in the heart of tropical zone do not augur well for championing democracy. India, although the largest practising democracy in the world, is riddled with corruption, electoral malpractices and falls in the lower brackets of HDI. In hybrid HDI from 1970 to 2010, the Europe and Central Asia scored the highest with a composite value of 0.75 while tropical South Asian value is mere 0.57 and Sub-Saharan Africa scored just 0.43!

The same freaky pattern can be observed not just across nations but within a country as well. In a wealthy nation like the US, the temperate north is richer and more progressive than the tropical south. North controls 70 per cent of the economy, leaving South far behind that has a largely agrarian economy. However, Russia and East European countries are way behind the west and mostly belong to the middle income groups. But that’s because of the sudden structural change that they have observed aft er the Cold War. However, Hong Kong and Singapore are exceptions. According to CIA World Fact Book, Hong Kong with a per capita income of $44,000 and Singapore with $52,000 are better-off than most Western European and North American countries. As it is widely believed that hot climate reduces productivity and thus prosperity, Singapore has done a trick— it has airconditioned almost everything from homes to offices and from buses to trains, thus off setting the effect of heat! True, economics does shock more than oft en, but then with Skirt-Index (how the length of skirt talks about economy) proving itself, weather is not far behind!


1 comment:

  1. Sun rises everywhere but crop grows only where the farmer has worked hard. God is everywhere but his grace is only for one who works hard with good intention