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What Do We Mean by Development and 3 Cores of Development

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What Do We Mean by Development and 3 Cores of Development

What do we mean by Development?

Development, in strictly economic terms, has traditionally meant the capacity of a national economy to generate and sustain an annual increase in its gross national product (GDP) at rates of perhaps 5% to 7% or more. A common alternative economic index of development has been the use of rates of growth of per capita GNP to take into account the ability of a nation to expand its output at a rate faster than growth rate of its population. Levels and rates of growth of “real” per capita GNP (monetary growth of GNP per capita minus the rate of inflation) are normally used to measure the overall economic well-being of a population.

Prior to the 1970s, development was seen as an economic phenomenon in which rapid gains in overall and per capita GNP growth would either trickle down to the masses in the form of jobs and other economic opportunities or create the necessary conditions for the wider distribution of economic and social benefits of growth. Problems of poverty, unemployment, and income distribution were of secondary importance to “getting the growth job done.”

The experience of the 1950s and 1960s signaled that something was wrong with this narrow definition of development. Because many Third World nations did realize their economic growth targets but the levels of living of the masses of people remained for the most part unchanged. Many economists and policymakers clamored for the “dethronement of GNP.” Thus, during the 1970s, economic development was redefined in terms of the reduction or elimination of poverty, inequality, and unemployment within the context of growing economy. “Redistribution from Growth” became a common slogan.

Even the World Bank, which during the 1980s championed economic growth as the goal of development, joined the chorus of observers taking a broader perspective when, in 1991 World Development Report, it wrote:

The Challenge of development…is to improve the quality of life. Especially in the world’s poor countries, a better quality of life generally calls for higher incomes—but it involves much more. It encompasses as ends in themselves better education,

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