The four-seasonal theory

Have you ever considered why developed countries are more concentrated on the further side from the equator?

In fact, there is almost no such thing called a "developed country" that is located in the tropical zone (with Singapore and United Arab Emirates as two rare exceptions).

I would like to put forward my own answer as follows.

People who live in the tropical territories are historically born to be lazy, because they only have two seasons to accustom with. Namely, the Rainy season and the Dry season.

Equatorial peoples -from Brazil to Middle East to India to Southeast Asia- have only two worries to think about: how to store the food to prepare for the Dry season, and how to make the best use of the Rainy season for agricultural irrigation purposes.

Which is why the colonisation was heavily concentrated around the tropical zone. The Europeans (who are by comparison, live further away from the equator) are not very good in producing their own food, hence they conquer all those tropical nations to supply the basic food needs.

On the other hand, the non-tropical peoples -from the Caucasus and Vikings in Europe to the Mongols in Asia- are historically born to be harsh. They were constantly woken up to the fact that they have four seasons to worry about every year; namely, Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.

In direct contrast to the equatorial people who by and large only have one kind of fashion style (i.e. the thin fabric worn in hot places), those who live in the four-seasonal regions need two kinds of clothings: Thin ones during Summer, and Thick ones during Winter.

More than that, they also have the unproductive seasons of Autumn and Winter which had never been very suitable for either planting or harvesting.

Winter was widely regarded as a season of famine and morbidity, because a lot of poor and homeless people had much more restricted access to drinking water and food supplies. Those who survived winter in the ancient times were those who had worked hard enough to store their food provisions or those who were affluent enough to purchase them.

While in the tropical countries, the poor generally could still have an access to drinking water at whatever time during the Dry season (because the rivers were never frozen, you see).

All the above elaboration are the reasons why -till this day- most of the developed countries are located further away from the equator than the developing ones.

The non-tropical people (Americans, Europeans, Australians, Japanese, etc) till this day always relate the image of tropical countries with sandy beach holidays, and this supports my purported theory that "tropical cultures are naturally lazy, relaxing and slow-paced in comparison with their harsh non-tropical counterparts"

Katadia  – (17 August 2008 at 00:25)  

Hey Toshi. I'm afraid you're not the first one to put forward such theory. On why some countries are rich and some are poor, and why the poor are the ones along the equator, William Easterly and a bunch of other economists have been raving on endogenous growth theory. Among many factors highlighted in the literature, natural resource curse seems to be one crucial problem. Apparently, the type of natural endowment such as those found in Latin America and in Indonesia is detrimental in facilitating extractive institutions that harbours socio-economic inequality. (For a more interesting read, maybe Jared Diamond's Gun, Germs and Steel would fare better). Anyway, nice post. I better get back to my crying baby :)

toshi  – (17 August 2008 at 09:23)  

@Katadia: oh dear, what a disappointment, eh? hehe

thx for the info anyway. I think I'll go and have a read at Easterly's and Diamond's biography now.. :)

Yonna  – (19 August 2008 at 05:28)  

Really? I just heard this from mbak Katadia. I (now I decide to say it in past tense) used to believe that equator position determines a nation's behaviour just like Toshi's has written.

But hey pro contra is a common thing. Even Al Gore has his own opponent on Global Warming Theory. The rest is ours, keep grasping the old one or converted to the new one. I choose to believe to those who have valid data and facts, strong basis to argue why is this wrong or why my opinion is right and could explain and answer even the weirdest and hardest questions :)

Jade  – (20 August 2008 at 01:27)  

Agree with Katadia on Diamond's Guns Germs & Steel :) It's an interesting read. It doesn't accuse Indonesians as lazy, but it analyzes the whole history of the world through a geographical point of view (i.e. not our fault we got colonised by the west, it's geography's fault).

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