What is the Brandt Line?


The Brandt Line is an invisible line across the world that divides the rich north from the poor south. The Brandt Line corresponds with the divide between economically developed and industrialized countries and those countries that are less economically developed.

Reference reports that the Brandt Line was introduced by Willy Brandt in the 1970s to illustrate the rich and poor countries of the world. The United States, Europe and Russia all are north of the Brandt Line, and therefore considered richer. On the other hand, most African and South American countries are below the Brandt Line. The Brandt Line circles the globe at roughly 30 degrees north, although it does shift radically south at Australia and New Zealand so that those two countries are included in the rich north.

According to BBC and the Brandt Line, there are distinct economic differences between the north and the south, with the north producing more goods while the south produces less. However, as of 2014, some of the southern countries have become newly industrialized and are becoming richer. Among these countries are Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, India and China. This change is due to a shift from agriculture to manufacturing, exporting goods and stable governments.

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