Development – What Is It?
In the social science study of society, social and economic development is the general process by which an individual, region, community, country, or an economy as a whole are developed based on specific objectives and targets. These objectives and goals are then translated into specific programs such as economic growth, development of infrastructure, education and health services, environmental protection, employment generation, and more. This is done in an effort to uplift the status of the people in society, to improve their living conditions, and to make the world a better place to live in. There are many different types of development.
Development is usually discussed and analyzed in terms of economic growth, because that is what most people are familiar with. However, development also takes into consideration other aspects such as human development, social development, and the environment in which particular individuals and groups live in. For instance, while economic growth is something that is commonly discussed and analyzed, human development is often looked at in a much broader context. Human development, in turn, is not just measured in terms of economic growth.
The terms sustainable development, on the other hand, are often used interchangeably. They are both ways to talk about the promotion of well-being. The difference between these two terms, however, is the emphasis on the elements that are essential to long-term development. For example, while life expectancy is a measure of longevity, development focuses on improving life standards for an entire population as well as for an individuals family. Life expectancy is important for overall development, but so is access to good quality health services and nutrition.
Life expectancy varies significantly in developed countries usually ranging from thirty to sixty years of age. In developing countries, the life expectancy tends to be much lower at around fifteen to twenty years of age. Developed countries usually rank very low when it comes to literacy rate. In fact, a major obstacle to development in the developing world is literacy because even the most basic education is usually not completed or passed along to the next generation.
The concept of development has two dimensions; it can be qualitative or quantitative. Well-being can also be considered qualitative because it is an internal state that can be improved by improving the capacity of an individual, a family, and society as a whole. Well-being on the other hand, can be quantified in terms of national income. A country’s national income refers to its wealth as a percent of the gross domestic product. Developed countries usually have high national income with developed countries usually ranking somewhere between twenty-eight and thirty-four percent.
Developed countries usually have higher levels of education, employment, and poverty. On the other hand, the difference between developed and developing countries’ national income is actually widening. While the percentage of people living in poverty is growing in the developing countries, the percentage of people who have an average income is slowly decreasing. Thus, one could say that poverty is becoming an unacceptable condition in today’s world. Technological advancements however, can widen the gap between developed and developing nations and provide even more opportunities for those who are currently living in poverty.