BEG_i-144.qxd 6/10/04 1:46 PM Page 7               1           What Is Development?           Are you sure that you know w...
BEG_i-144.qxd 6/10/04 1:46 PM Page 8     BEYOND ECONOMIC GROWTH                                 political freedom. Accordi...
BEG_i-144.qxd 6/10/04 1:46 PM Page 9                                                                                      ...
BEG_i-144.qxd 6/10/04 1:46 PM Page 10     BEYOND ECONOMIC GROWTH                                 groups of people, within ...
BEG_i-144.qxd 6/10/04 1:46 PM Page 11                                                                                     ...
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Wb what is development

  1. 1. BEG_i-144.qxd 6/10/04 1:46 PM Page 7 1 What Is Development? Are you sure that you know what “devel- Goals and Means of Development opment” really means with respect to How do we different countries? And can you deter- Different countries have different priori- determine which mine which countries are more devel- ties in their development policies. But to oped and which are less? compare their development levels, you countries are more would first have to make up your mind developed and It is somewhat easier to say which coun- about what development really means to which less? tries are richer and which are poorer. But you, what it is supposed to achieve. indicators of wealth, which reflect the Indicators measuring this achievement quantity of resources available to a soci- could then be used to judge countries’ ety, provide no information about the relative progress in development. allocation of those resources—for instance, about more or less equitable Is the goal merely to increase national distribution of income among social wealth, or is it something more subtle? groups, about the shares of resources Improving the well-being of the majority used to provide free health and education of the population? Ensuring people’s free- services, and about the effects of produc- dom? Increasing their economic security?1 tion and consumption on people’s envi- ronment. Thus it is no wonder that Recent United Nations documents countries with similar average incomes emphasize “human development,” mea- can differ substantially when it comes to sured by life expectancy, adult literacy, people’s quality of life: access to educa- access to all three levels of education, as tion and health care, employment oppor- well as people’s average income, which is tunities, availability of clean air and safe a necessary condition of their freedom of drinking water, the threat of crime, and choice. In a broader sense the notion of so on. With that in mind, how do we human development incorporates all determine which countries are more aspects of individuals’ well-being, from developed and which are less developed? their health status to their economic and 1 If you think that the “simple” answer to this question is something like “maximizing people’s happiness,” think of the different factors that usually make people feel happy or unhappy. Note that a number of special surveys in different countries appear to show that the average level of happiness in a country does not grow along with the increase in average income, at least after a certain rather modest income level is achieved. At the same time, in each country richer people usually reported slightly higher levels of happiness than poorer people, and people in coun- tries with more equal distribution of wealth appeared to be generally happier. 7
  2. 2. BEG_i-144.qxd 6/10/04 1:46 PM Page 8 BEYOND ECONOMIC GROWTH political freedom. According to the provided by nature, such as pollution Human Development Report 1996, pub- absorption and resource regeneration. lished by the United Nations Develop- Moreover, economic growth must be ment Program, “human development is constantly nourished by the fruits of the end—economic growth a means.” human development, such as higher qualified workers capable of technologi- It is true that economic growth, by cal and managerial innovations along increasing a nation’s total wealth, also with opportunities for their efficient use: enhances its potential for reducing more and better jobs, better conditions poverty and solving other social for new businesses to grow, and greater problems. But history offers a number of democracy at all levels of decisionmaking examples where economic growth was (see Fig. 1.1). not followed by similar progress in human development. Instead growth was Conversely, slow human development achieved at the cost of greater inequality, can put an end to fast economic growth. higher unemployment, weakened According to the Human Development democracy, loss of cultural identity, or Report 1996, “during 1960–1992 not a overconsumption of natural resources single country succeeded in moving from needed by future generations. As the lopsided development with slow human links between economic growth and development and rapid growth to a vir- social and environmental issues are better tuous circle in which human develop- understood, experts including econo- ment and growth can become mutually mists tend to agree that this kind of reinforcing.” Since slower human devel- growth is inevitably unsustainable—that opment has invariably been followed by is, it cannot continue along the same slower economic growth, this growth lines for long. First, if environmental and pattern was labeled a “dead end.” social/human losses resulting from eco- nomic growth turn out to be higher than economic benefits (additional incomes Sustainable Development earned by the majority of the popula- tion), the overall result for people’s well- Sustainable development is a term being becomes negative. Thus such widely used by politicians all over the economic growth becomes difficult to world, even though the notion is still sustain politically. Second, economic rather new and lacks a uniform interpre- growth itself inevitably depends on its tation. Important as it is, the concept of natural and social/human conditions. To sustainable development is still being be sustainable, it must rely on a certain developed and the definition of the term amount of natural resources and services is constantly being revised, extended, 8
  3. 3. BEG_i-144.qxd 6/10/04 1:46 PM Page 9 1 WHAT IS DEVELOPMENT? Why is equity important for sustainable development? and refined. Using this book, you can ple continue to jeopardize the well-being try to formulate your own definition as of people belonging to other groups or you learn more about the relationships living in other parts of the world. among its main components—the eco- Imagine, for example, that emissions of nomic, social, and environmental factors greenhouse gases, generated mainly by of sustainable development—and as you highly industrialized countries, lead to decide on their relative significance global warming and flooding of certain based on your own system of values. low-lying islands—resulting in the dis- placement and impoverishment of entire According to the classical definition island nations (see Chapter 14). Or con- given by the United Nations World sider the situation when higher profits of Commission on Environment and pharmaceutical companies are earned at Development in 1987, development is the cost of millions of poor people being sustainable if it “meets the needs of the unable to afford medications needed for present without compromising the abil- treating their life-threatening diseases. ity of future generations to meet their own needs.” It is usually understood that “Sustainable” development could proba- this “intergenerational” equity would be bly be otherwise called “equitable and impossible to achieve in the absence of balanced,” meaning that, in order for present-day social equity , if the eco- development to continue indefinitely, it nomic activities of some groups of peo- should balance the interests of different 9
  4. 4. BEG_i-144.qxd 6/10/04 1:46 PM Page 10 BEYOND ECONOMIC GROWTH groups of people, within the same gener- value of greater national security with the ation and among generations, and do so negative value of slower economic growth simultaneously in three major interre- (loss of jobs and income) and some, pos- lated areas–economic, social, and envi- sibly irreversible, environmental damage? ronmental. So sustainable development is There is no strictly scientific method of about equity, defined as equality of performing such valuations and compar- opportunities for well-being, as well as isons. However, governments have to about comprehensiveness of objectives. make these kinds of decisions on a regular Figure 1.2 shows just a few of the many basis. If such decisions are to reflect the objectives, which, if ignored, threaten to interests of the majority, they must be slow down or reverse development in taken in the most democratic and partici- other areas. You are invited to add more patory way possible. But even in this case, objectives and explain how, in your opin- there is a high risk that long-term inter- ion, they are connected to others. In the ests of our children and grandchildren following chapters you will find many end up unaccounted for, because future examples of such interconnections. generations cannot vote for themselves. Thus, to ensure that future generations Obviously, balancing so many diverse inherit the necessary conditions to pro- objectives of development is an enormous vide for their own welfare, our present- challenge for any country. For instance, day values must be educated enough to how would you compare the positive reflect their interests as well. 10
  5. 5. BEG_i-144.qxd 6/10/04 1:46 PM Page 11 1 WHAT IS DEVELOPMENT? The challenge is further complicated by also stands in the way of achieving most the fact that in today’s interdependent other goals of development, from clean world many aspects of sustainable devel- environment to personal freedom. opment are in fact international or even Another, closely related, global problem global. On the one hand, many deci- is establishing and preserving peace in sions taken at the national or even local all regions and all countries. War, as level actually have international conse- well as poverty, is inherently destructive What are the quences–economic, social, environmen- of all economic as well as social and necessary tal. When these consequences are environmental goals of development negative, the situation is sometimes (see Fig. 1.2). conditions for referred to as “exporting unsustainabil- sustainable ity.” On the other hand, national poli- In the final analysis sustainable develop- development? cies are often inadequate to effectively ment is about long-term conditions for deal with many challenges of sustainabil- humanity’s multidimensional well-being. ity. Thus international cooperation on For example, the famous Rio the wide range of so-called transbound- Declaration, adopted by the United ary and global problems of sustainable Nations Conference on Environment development becomes indispensable. and Development in 1992 (also called the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Arguably, the most critical problem of Janeiro, Brazil), puts it this way: sustainable development—in each “Human beings are at the center of con- country as well as globally—is eradicat- cern for sustainable development. They ing extreme poverty. That is because are entitled to a healthy and productive poverty is not only an evil in itself. It life in harmony with nature.” 11