What Is Development?

Development is the process of making a nation economically and socially better. The main goals of development are to improve the living standards of people, increase their level of education and provide better healthcare. It also aims to promote the growth of self-esteem and the creation of social, economic and political systems and institutions that respect human rights.

One way to measure development is by comparing the country’s gross national income (GNI) per capita. This is the total value of a country’s goods and services divided by its population. Nations with higher GNIs are considered more developed than those with lower ones. Other indicators of development include the availability of water, air quality and access to health services.

Historically, the development of nations was based on the theory that economic growth would lead to a rise in living standards for all populations. However, it was discovered that this was not always the case.

The modern understanding of development focuses on the needs and aspirations of people and their capacities for solving their own problems. It aims to make the state give up its paternalistic and welfarist roles in favour of being an agent for enabling and consolidating people’s solutions flowing from below. Ideally, the development of mankind should be the real objective of development. Achievements that do not satisfy this aim should not be considered as development. Likewise, development should be sustainable. The achievement of sustainability will require a holistic approach that combines the fulfilment of basic human needs with environmental protection.