The Logic of Development
Development is a systematic process which creates the positive change, development, improvement, enhancement, the establishment of physical, cultural, economic, social and cultural factors, or simply the increase of human quality, ability, or social status. The main aim of developmental theory is the development of the individual, the family, the community and the nation as a whole, and thereby improvement of living conditions. The development process has two phases, before the process begins and after the process has ended. The beginning phase represents the beginning of any development program. The end phase represents the ultimate goal of development.
The development theory of mainstream economics has the state as the primary actor, attempting to keep the economy in balance. Although state intervention is necessary to keep the economy running smoothly, it is also debatable as it alters the complex adaptive systems of the economy, including its capacity for growth and productivity. By bringing in external factors, it changes the economic policies of the state, creating a shift in its overall orientation. In this light, development theory has been used to challenge mainstream economics on the nature of development, with some economists going as far as to challenge the very foundations of mainstream economics.
Complex adaptive systems, as part of the complexity theory, can neither be understood nor appreciated by the mainstream economics. For example, the mainstream economics proposes that the increase in income is the primary cause behind increased wealth for a society. It further proposes that increased wealth leads to increased consumption, investment, output and employment, resulting in rising living standards. As well, it is postulated that the lack of investment, output, investment and employment are the result of a society’s failure to create assets and employ individuals who can take care of themselves. As a result, they argue, development should not be the result of economic policies of a government but rather the result of social policies that create suitable environments conducive for economic growth and well-being.
The complexity theory, on the other hand, claims that development should be viewed from the perspective of three factors. First, there should be a conscious effort to create advanced productive systems, meaning that the system that develops should be able to efficiently provide most basic needs. Second, the desired development outcome should not be dependent on GDP growth, which in turn should not depend on the rate of technological change. Finally, the process of economic development must not disrupt the established socio-cultural patterns of a country, particularly its residents and their environment.
The argument presented here relies on the GRI per capita indicator, which is derived by taking the Gross National Income (GNI) of each country and dividing it by the per capita GDP of all other countries that are members of the Commonwealth of Nations. The larger the difference between the two numbers, the more developed a country is. Accordingly, advanced countries, those with per capita GDP greater than seventy thousand dollars, have a greater “GDP” than the developing countries with per capita GDP less than twenty thousand dollars. On this basis, developing countries are expected to continue to improve their level of development over time while wealthier ones stay stagnant or fall further.
The argument presented here is based on the assumption that development should be viewed on the basis of its ability to alleviate poverty. To this end, the developing nations argue that they are being given a hand from the developed nations because they are being allowed to use the international organizations to help them become better off. Also, as they progress their levels of development, they will eventually catch up with the advanced nations. This will allow them to enjoy both development benefits and higher per capita income rates.