This book views development as an institution. It highlights the key issues in development, development theory, the history of development policy and practice, and to the range of development institutions that are currently engaged in the development enterprise. It looks at the main sectors in which development organizations engage, including: governance and security, health, education, environmental and natural resource management, and legal reform to mention but a few.
There is no rule of thumb in defining the concept of development. There are variations of meaning of the concept depending on the perspectives, aspects and philosophies under which such concept is defined. There are also various concepts that are associated with the development. This lecture shades light on the understanding of what development is as well as giving insights on the concepts such as human development, sustainable development and others.
1.1 What is Development?
There are many ways of defining the term development. These ways vary one from another. Their variations are due to the different fields or profession where such word may be applied. There are many scholars who have defined the term development differently. However, their variation cannot prevent us from grasping the general understanding of the term.
Development connotes the process that brings about positive change that allows people to achieve their human potential. It is about the conversion of natural resources into cultural resources. It is the process of advancement. The development process is gradual; it is not an overnight process. The basic objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives.
Development consists of more than improvements in the well-being of citizens. It also conveys something about the capacity of economic, political and social systems to provide the circumstances for that well-being on a sustainable, long-term basis.
1.2 Human Development
The expression “human development” is widely used, it is understood in different ways around the world. It grew out of global discussions on the links between economic growth and development during the second half of the 20th Century.
Human development can be defined as expansion of human capabilities, a widening of choices, an enhancement of freedom, and a fulfillment of human rights. It deals with a process of enlarging people’s choices and strengthens human capabilities in a way which enables them to lead longer, healthier and fuller lives.
In other words, human development is about expanding the richness of human life, rather than simply the richness of the economy in which human beings live. It is development that is focused on people and their opportunities and choices.
1.3 Manifestation of Human Development
Human development focuses on improving the lives people lead rather than assuming that economic growth will lead, automatically, to greater opportunities for all. Income growth is an important means to development, rather than an end in itself.
Human development is about giving people more freedom and opportunities to live lives they value. In effect this means developing people’s abilities and giving them a chance to use them.
Human development is, fundamentally, about more choice. It is about providing people with opportunities, not insisting that they make use of them. No one can guarantee human happiness, and the choices people make are their own concern.
The process of development – human development - should at least create an environment for people, individually and collectively, to develop to their full potential and to have a reasonable chance of leading productive and creative lives that they value.
1.4 Components of Human Development
If development is viewed in terms of enhancing people’s basic capabilities, people must enjoy equitable access to opportunities. Such may be called equality-related capabilities. To ensure equality-related capabilities or access to opportunities what is essential is that the societal institutional structure needs to be more favourable or progressive.
Another important facet of human development is that development should ‘keep going’, should ‘last long’. The concept of sustainable development focuses on the need to maintain the long term protective capacity of the biosphere. This then suggests that growth cannot go on indefinitely; there are, of course, ‘limits to growth.
Another component of human development is productivity which requires investment in people. This is commonly called investment in human capital. Investment in human capital—in addition to physical capital—can add more productivity. The improvement in the quality of human resources raises the productivity of existing resources.
The empowerment of people is another component of human development. In other words, genuine human development requires empowerment in all aspects of life. Empowerment implies a political democracy in which people themselves make the decisions about their lives. Under it, people enjoy greater political and civil liberties and remain free from excessive controls and regulations. Empowerment refers to decentralisation of power so that the benefits of governance are reaped by all peoples.