Natural hazards affect a variety of countries, both developed and developing, but the effects of the events when they do occur are noticeably different according to development. It would appear that in scenarios where hazard levels may be similar risk is often higher in the poorer developing country. Developed countries such as Japan or the USA would typically be primarily concerned with the financial cost of an earthquake or volcanic event, whilst poorer countries such as Haiti are often left to count the cost in terms of lives.
Migration plays a very significant role in the UK’s population structure, with net migration of 336,000 in 2015, including the highest number of asylum seekers for 12 years. This became an issue of political significance, which was exploited by Nigel Farage and his party to play a role in the UK’s vote to leave the European Union in June. The 2004 expansion of the EU to incorporate several Eastern European states proved a catalyst for immigration, with 1.5million Eastern European immigrants coming into the UK between 2004 and 2009. There is no doubt that high levels of immigration can have negative impacts in the UK, but there are a number of positive impacts too. Balancing out these positives and negatives is often heavily down to the perception of the person assessing them.
In 2015 the UK received 38,878 asylum applications, with an estimated 126,000 refugees already living in the UK. The recent migrant crisis mostly caused by violence in Syria has brought the issue of immigration to the forefront of political discussion, with the rise of UKIP suggesting many citizens of the UK fear too much immigration putting strain on services and potentially pressure on jobs in a country where unemployment is currently 1.67 million. There is no doubt that immigration provides both positives and negatives and these will vary between countries with different needs and different current rates of immigration. Whilst economic factors have traditionally been more important the cultural aspect of immigration is now also a significant issue, with events such as the New Year’s Eve sexual assaults in Cologne prompting debate over whether cultural values of many refugees fit in with the western world’s.
Economic growth is affected by a number of factors given the wildly different levels of wealth between countries – the 80:20 principle states that 20% of the world’s population controls 80% of the world’s wealth is a powerful example of this. Whilst there is plenty that can be done to stimulate the development of a country, such as China’s booming manufacturing base, it is worth exploring the idea that some countries may have a cap put on their development by factors they cannot control. This may be the problem of being located on a major fault line, in an area prone to drought and desertification, or even being landlocked and therefore being limited on trade. Whilst there are a number of ways for measuring development, for the purposes of this piece of writing, it will be measured in GDP per capita.