Development is a broad concept and, though interrelated, it differs from social
change. Change is a value-neutral concept whereas development is a value-laden
concept. The notion of development is, in other words, the process of the desired
change. All cases of change do not indicate development. Only planned and desired
changes can be described as development. Thus, it is important to keep in mind the
distinct character of the concept of development.
Prevailing Conception of development
For a discussion of the contemporary sociological concerns about development, we
can begin by outlining some of the views based on historical events, on the socio-cultural dimensions of development. But before we examine these dominant concerns
regarding development, it would be useful to undertake a brief description of the
“three worlds of development” as it had existed prior to the break-up of the Soviet
Union. This had become an important part of the social scientist's parlance since the
middle of the 20th century. Earlier the world was divided into two i.e. it was a bipolar world with the capitalist block of the United States of America (USA), on the one
side and the socialist block of the Soviet Union, on the other. After the break-up of the Soviet Union, the ‘Cold War ‘ has ended and the world has become Unipolar, with the USA as the most powerful nation in the world.
Social development is a process that can be explained
only with the help of economic and political development. It is very much
interrelated with these two. The concept of social development has been
introduced to appraise the dynamics of developing societies. Social scientists
have enumerated the contents of development under various categories such as
nutrition, shelter, health education, leisure and recreation, security, and opulence level or under the categories like output and income, conditions of production,
levels of living, attitude towards life, and work, institutions and policies.
The Three Worlds of Development
The First World consists of North America, Western and Southern Europe. The
countries were seen to be following mainly a capitalist model of development. The
Second World had consisted of the Soviet Union and the East European group such as,
Poland, East Germany, Hungary etc. Many socio-political changes have occurred
in these countries now and they do not remain a communist bloc anymore.
were associated with the socialist model of development. The Third World was and
to a certain extent still is generally used to refer to the less developed or developing
societies of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.Most of these countries emerged out of
colonial rule to attain political independence only in the middle of the 20th century.
The majority of the third world countries are characterised by low per capita income,
high rates of illiteracy and infant mortality. These were generally agriculture-based
economies where people had short life expectancies, low degree of social mobility
and strong attachment to tradition.The First and the Second
World’s models of development had laid primary emphasis on economic growth.
1-The Capitalist Model of Development of the First World
provision for private ownership of property and means of production,
promotion of economic activities through private enterprises, and
minimum possible state regulation and control on private enterprises.
the capitalist model is characterized by a free economy regulated by
2-The Socialist Model of Development of the Second World
The socialist path of development adopted by the Second World was seen to be
opposite or dichotomous to the capitalist path of development. The former, contrary
to the latter, is characterized by state ownership of property and means of production,
public enterprises and complete state regulation of economic activities. Thus, the
socialist model refers to a regulated economy.
The main allegation against the capitalist model is that, since it permits minimum
state regulation, its economic system becomes exploitative in the sense that the
working-class people (proletariat) do not get their due share. The capitalists enjoy
a major share of the nation’s resources. Hence it contributes to inequalities so that
a few are very rich and the majority is very poor.
The capitalist model is, therefore, alleged to be exploitative and non-egalitarian. On
the contrary, the socialist model was ideally considered as non-exploitative and
egalitarian. Private ownership and the lack of state regulation, were considered to
be important measures of exploitation of the weaker sections and hence the causes
of income inequalities. Since, the socialist state did not allow private ownership of
property, there was a strong belief that there was no room for exploitation and
inequality in it. However, historical events proved this belief to be incorrect as the
Soviet Union could not survive for long.
The period of “Glasnost” and “perestroika”
led by Gorbachev, the erstwhile Russian Prime Minister during the 1980s, dismantled
the communist political and economic structure. The Soviet Union broke up into
several small countries and the socialist ideology gave way to capitalist tendencies.
However, China still follows a socialistic socio-political order.
3-) Development of the Third World
It is difficult to specify the model of development, adopted by the majority of the.
Third World countries as there are variations among them, dictated mainly by their
historical and socio-cultural circumstances. What they seem to share in common is
They are economically and technologically underdeveloped in comparison to
the countries of the so-called developed world.
Social planning is a key element in their development process. Their plans of
development incorporate not only economic concerns, especially the removal of
poverty, but also concerns regarding nation-building, national culture, and social
They have been seeking technological and economic aid from the developed
countries. The developed countries have given them economic assistance,
but they have also been increasingly attempting to extend their political influence
in developing countries. It has been noted that the global military defense
strategy is, the major consideration of the developed countries, in extending
their economic and political influence to the developing countries.