Why are colder countries more developed than the warmer ones?
Kauan Mateus Kubaski, Bolsista De Iniciação Científica
This has a hint of historical coincidence and human adaptability and has nothing to do with ethnic superiority.
Let us see that the developed nations are not "cold weather" necessarily if we consider this only as continental climate. In general they are temperate climates.
In addition, let's look at some interesting data:
- Ukraine has a stricter winter than France, but the latter is more developed. French GDP per capita is almost 17 times larger than the country that was once part of the USSR.
- California in the US is much milder than North Dakota and may have infernal temperatures along the off-shore valleys in the summer. GDP per capita is as high as the state of New York.
- South China is the richest region in the country. Shenzen is farther south than any Chinese city and is the most imposing of all.
- Nigeria is the richest country on the African continent. And yet it has the second largest ethnic and linguistic diversity in the world. Although there is typical social inequality of the countries of the south this nation has climate and vegetation similar of the second poorest African country (Zimbabwe).
- The most interesting: GDP per capita (which is more important than gross income) than Equatorial Guine is higher than that of Portugal. That is, the problems are more political (dic orial go nments / maldistribution) than pure poverty.
Balaji Viswanathan, an engineer.
Other than the 19-20th century CE, cold weather regions were not really ahead of the economies of warmer regions. Historically, the civilization was centered around warm, tropics & subtropics. The first 5 civilizations - Sumer, Nile valley, Indus Valley, Yellow river valley, Norte Chico - were all in subtropics. The ones that followed - in Greece, Persia, Rome were in the same zone too. [Subtropics often were better than tropics because the latter was often next to dense rainforests with wildlife & epidemic dangers.] Still the warmer regions performed better throughout history.
Colonialism changed this dynamic for the first time. I will explain this how. The cold weather regions have very low population density as not many people preferred cold winters. This allowed the farmers to have much larger lands and more potential mines & mineral resources. Until the modern era, these were hard to tap though.
When industrial revolution came, the technology drastically helped those in cold climates. Mechanised farming - tractors and other machines - allowed industrial scale farming over those lands. This allowed the farmers to get rich because they had now huge lands that could be fully tapped. Factories also could now get minerals resources and infrastructure as large parts of their countries were sparsely occupied. In contrast, industrial revolution could not do much to densely populated tropics that already had high farming productivity - but shared by a large number of farmers. Tropics were too densely populated - meaning lesser resources & lesser room or infrastructure.
Other aspect colonialism did was to open up huge markets. England had a small domestic market - population was small. But, through its colonies it got a huge market for its textile mills and industries. In earlier times there was not much international trade and thus those in sparsely populated regions could not benefit from their innovations.
In 21st century CE, we are entering a post-industrial era and the pendulum might be shifting again. Mines and lands are not as important as they were in say 20th century. It is about the number of minds networked. In this, the subtropics/tropics such as California, Singapore, Shanghai or Bangalore are getting back in the game. The size of the domestic market matters big once again - as Californian startups could attest and density helps in various other ways too for an information economy.
Benjamin Lucas, lives in Brazil
The theory that cold environments would be more conducive to the development of technologically advanced civilizations was widespread in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The argument behind it is that the cold climate would have offered extra challenges to survival, thus favoring a process of evolution of society. In the tropics, where "just reaching out" to pick a fruit, people would have been indolent, with no reason to move forward.
It's a fake. There are multiple examples of advanced cultures in the tropics. The earliest known civilizations have developed in tropical and subtropical regions - the Sumerians, the Egyptians, and the Indus Valley civilization.
In the Americas, the mighty Mayans and Aztecs were in tropical regions, while the natives of icy Canada and Patagonia did not achieve the same sophistication. In the Pacific, the kingdoms of Indonesia were much richer than those of New Zealand, where it snows every year. And so on: History proves that there is nothing wrong with the tropics.
The "backwardness" of the tropical regions only arose with the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, which made Europe gain a technological and hence military advantage unprecedented. A revolution born of very specific conditions, which never ested before, in the tropics or in the Arctic.
An event that has many explanations - but the cold is not one. And that spread to other European countries not because they were cold, but because they were close, geographical. economically and culturally.
Hans Regali, Allergy ridden geek
Italy alone can be proof of this. Same nation, same politics, yet the north is far more developed than the south, with industrialization fading with the latitude as we move towards warmer climate. Obviously it isn’t the only factor, but temperature certainly matters.
I’ve read quite a few quite politically correct answers here. As usual “all men are the same”, “cultural diversity does not est”, “those who state that colder countries are more developed are nazi white supremacists”.
It is important to note that such answers do not heed the question’s use of the simple present, and focus instead on the former glories of ancient civilizations that had no means or hope to survive in colder regions. A notion that reinforces the idea that a higher quantity of inventiveness, organization and proactiveness are required to survive and thrive in colder climates.
Sam van Lekker, lives in London
This is just the way of the world at the moment..
people will have theories along the lines of how survival was traditionally tougher in colder climates, how people were forced to be more resourceful, how it forced people to think longer term, plan for tomorrow and be fleble to change and adapt with different seasons etc.. all this contributing to a mindset that has lent itself better to innovation today..
most developed nations are generally the most innovative.
however in the past this was different, some of the oldest human civilisations full stop occurred in warm climates.. ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, ancient India etc.. these civilisations were way ahead of their time much more so than in the colder more advanced western nations of today were back then. Then of course south east Asia was very civilised in the past which is entirely tropical.. allot of other examples est too..
civilisations rise and fall regardless of the weather, environment and climate.. it’s true that different conditions have advantages and disadvantages but it largely depends of how advantages are used.. for example warmer climates have better land and overall conditions to grow food hence the development of agriculture and tools for farming Etc.. which lead to more innovation .. then on the flip side, for the same reason, someone can claim warmer climates are unsuccessful because survival was easy with ample fertile land and sunshine hours - hence had to work less hard and think less to survive..
In conclusion, advanced societies have ested in both warm and cold climates.. even today there are a whole host of cold countries which are poor.
I don’t want to mention these nations and potentially insult readers.. but if you look at the world map properly you’ll realise that there are allot of cold countries that have been left out of the developed world and are as underdeveloped as anywhere.
it all depends on the individuals ability to think and the right political environment that allows growth and development - environment isn’t always a factor..
look at Holland.. they are the second biggest agricultural exporter in the world.. all this with a tiny country and allot less fertile land than most nations.. how? Will, thinking, inventing, solving problems etc..
the human mind is incredible and works in all environments.
one fine day the human mind will cause the fall of the developed nations of today and give rise to another part of the world which will become the new the developed world.. this is how life is, and how it’s always been. Our minds make the world tick.. cause change, rise and fall