According to the IMF, the GDP per capita in the USA is about \$57,000 per year. In many central African countries the figure is more like \$500 or less. These examples are indicative of the incredibly broad spectrum of levels of development observed globally.
- What is the state of the art as far as economists are concerned in explaining where these income disparities have come from? Why have countries like the US grown so much quicker that those of central Africa?
- What do we know about the prospects for closing this gap in the future? What are the main prerequisites for very poor countries to begin to grow quickly?
- Is there a sense in which developed countries could be said to be perpetuating global inequality (for example, via unfavorable trade policies), or is the state of the developing world largely independent of "the West"?
Three questions, but I think they are fairly closely related (in the sense that the answer to 1. might well also answer 2. and 3.) so I am asking them all together here.