Social and Human Development Explained.

 An introduction 

When discussing society, we frequently hear the words 'growth' and 'development.' Growth is a quantitative concept, whereas development includes qualitative elements. Some people define development as improved roads, electricity, markets, buildings, and vehicles, whereas others define it as the elimination of poverty, unemployment, insecurity, illiteracy, and illness, among other things. What constitutes development is debatable, and opinions differ. Recently, there has been a realisation that development should not only include economic growth and physical infrastructure development, but should also include improvements in people's lives. As a result, development is now measured in terms of human well-being or human development. We've all heard the adage "health is wealth." Even if a person is wealthy, he or she cannot find happiness and meaning in life if they are not healthy. Similarly, nations cannot be said to be healthy and happy simply because they are prosperous.

What exactly is growth and development?

Growth is a term used in economics to describe an increase in a country's national income as well as an increase in per capita income (PCI), which is simply the national income divided by the country's total population. A country's annual national income is measured in terms of Gross National Product (GNP), which is the monetary value of all goods and services produced in a given year. When the GNP is divided by the total population, the result is the GNP per capita, also known as 'per capita income.' It is the population's average income. It has some drawbacks, as do all statistical averages. It does not depict the country's income distribution. Furthermore, it only measures monetary income and nothing else. As a result, all goods and services that do not come for market transactions, such as domestic labour, are not counted in the GNP. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, it does not highlight achievements that people place a high value on, such as improved nutrition, health care, secure livelihoods, better working conditions, freedom from crime and violence, and participation in social, cultural, and political activities. As we will see shortly, income is important, but it is not the sum total of human life. It is natural to believe that the greater a country's income, the greater its development and people's well-being. However, this is not always the case, just as being wealthy does not always imply being healthy. According to Amartya Sen (1988), the relationship between GNP and living standards is complicated. Table 1 shows the gross national product (GNP) per capita and average life expectancy at birth in 1985 for five different countries.

A new perspective on the development

After gaining independence from colonial powers in the 1950s and 1960s, many countries (known as the Third World) chose a growth-oriented approach to development, aided by technology transfer and financial assistance from industrialised countries as well as international financial institutions. The industrialised countries' growth-led development experiences served as models for their future. The 1960s were defined by the dominance of "growth models" of development. In Chapter 3 on Industrialisation, we discussed one such model proposed by Rostow. Such models proposed that increasing the growth of these economies through investments would result in higher growth, the benefits would 'trickle down' to the masses, and economic development would occur. Many of these economies expanded. Several countries' per capita incomes increased during this period, and health and education levels improved; however, in a number of countries where GDP increased, the standard of living did not improve for the vast majority of the population. In fact, many millions of people joined the hundreds of millions already living in absolute poverty (Webster, 1997). Sharp inequalities emerged in many countries, with the rich minority becoming richer and the poor majority becoming poorer. In other words, there had been no "trickle down" effect. This called for a rethinking of the concept of development. In this context, Seers (1969) posed three critical development questions: "What has happened to poverty?" What has happened to the unemployment rate? What has happened to inequality? If all three of these have declined from high levels, the country has unquestionably entered a period of development. Even if per capita income doubled, it would be strange to call the result "development" if one or two of these central problems have gotten worse, let alone all three." Critics of the growth-oriented approach contended that such a situation arose as a result of insufficient attention being paid to genuine human welfare. It was argued that a complete paradigm shift in third-world development was required. Economists such as Streeten and Seers advocated for a programme that included a redistribution of income and resources downwards as a key component. This resulted in the "redistribution with growth" strategy, and later the "basic needs strategy" of development. The basic needs strategy was concerned with two things: 

(1) providing all human beings, particularly the poor and destitute in third-world countries, with material needs such as food, clothing, shelter, and fuel; and 

(2) eradicating absolute poverty as soon as possible. There were elements of social justice in it. Gradually, it became clear that development must go beyond meeting the basic needs of people in developing countries. It should include all of the opportunities required to live a more complete human life. Furthermore, humans should not be viewed as recipients of development benefits, but rather as development's goals. And, when discussing human well-being, the poorest and weakest sections must be given special consideration. As a result, the focus on growth is replaced by a more holistic view of human welfare or wellbeing as the primary concern of development. Growth is meaningful only if it improves human well-being. This is referred to as the human development approach.

Human Development

The United Nations Development Programme published the Human Development Report in 1990, which formally introduced the concept of "human development" (UNDP). It was the result of years of debates and discussions among economists, social scientists, activists, development agencies, and others, led by late economist Mahbub ul Haq. The ideas of Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen about 'capabilities' and 'freedom' have also influenced the concept of human development. Sen defines development as the expansion of individuals' freedom, well-being, and dignity in society. The human development approach, on the other hand, is not a novel concept. In Haq's words, the rediscovery of human development is a tribute to early leaders of political and economic thought who argued that social arrangements should be judged by how well they promote 'human good,' rather than wealth or income. The concept can be traced back to Aristotle (384-322 B.C. ), who argued that "wealth is evidently not the good we seek, for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else," and to Emanuel Kant, who urged treating humanity as an end in itself, rather than a means to an end (Haq, 2000)

Meaning and Definition

Human development is primarily concerned with reducing human deprivation, increasing human capability, and releasing processes that broaden people's options. Human development is defined by the Human Development Report 1990 as a process of increasing people's options. Although these options are limitless and change over time, three critical options for people at all stages of development are to live a long and healthy life, to acquire knowledge, and to have access to it.

to the resources required for a decent standard of living However, human development does not stop there. "Additional choices highly valued by many people include political, economic, and social freedom, as well as opportunities to be creative and productive, as well as personal self-respect and guaranteed human rights" (Haq, 2000). According to the Report, human development has two components: the formation of capabilities (such as improved health, knowledge, and skill) and the use of those capabilities (for leisure, productive purposes, or participation in cultural, social, and political affairs). Human frustration may result if the scales of human development are not finely balanced between the two sides. Income is clearly only one of the options that people would like to have, albeit an important one, according to this concept of human development. It is, however, not the sum total of their lives. As a result, development must be more than just an increase in income and wealth. Its primary focus must be on people.

The main characteristics According to Haq (2000), the following are the main characteristics of human development. 

1) Development must prioritise people over all else. 

2) The goal of development is to broaden all human options, not just income. 

3) The human development paradigm is concerned with both the development of human capabilities (via human capital investment) and the full utilisation of those capabilities (through an enabling framework for growth and employment). 

4)Equity, Sustainability, Productivity, and Empowerment are the four essential components of human development. It believes that economic growth is important, but that quality and distribution are more important. It also examines its connections to human lives and calls into question its long-term viability. 

5) The human development paradigm defines development goals and examines viable options for achieving them.

Indicators of Development Because the scope of human development is so broad, developing a suitable indicator was difficult. This is because it would be desirable to include all of the variables that expand human choices and freedoms, which would result in a large number of variables. Again, because human development is a dynamic concept that evolves over time and varies across space (people's choices would be culture specific as well), a number of criteria will be entered. This would be a problem in terms of both standardisation and precision. Too many variables would complicate and make the picture unmanageable. As a result, the new index had to include a small number of variables while still capturing the essence of human development. It had to be a composite index that took into account all variables and covered both social and economic options. The Human Development Index is the name given to this metric (HDI). Later, in 1995 and 1997, two additional measures — the gender development index (GDI) and the Human Poverty Index (HPI) — were developed to focus on specific aspects.

Human Development Index

Thexe Human Development Index was created by focusing on three fundamental aspects of human life: longevity, knowledge, and a decent standard of living. Life expectancy at birth is used as an indicator for longevity; literacy figures are used for knowledge; and purchasing power-adjusted real GNP per capita is used as a measure of decent living (HDR 1990). As a result, the first step is to develop a country's measure of deprivation for each of these fundamental variables. For the actual observed values of each of the three variables in all countries, minimum and maximum values are defined. The deprivation measure then assigns the country a score between 0 and 1, with 0 being the lowest observed value and 1 being the highest. So, if a country's life expectancy is 50 years and the minimum observed life expectancy is 40 years and the maximum observed life expectancy is 80 years, the index for life expectancy is 0.25. The second step is to create an average indicator by arithmetic arithmetic arithmetic arithmetic arithmetic arithmetic arithmetic arithm The third step is to calculate the HDI as 1 minus the obtained average deprivation index. The HDI value indicates where a country stands in relation to other countries. Because the relative nature of the maximum and minimum values for each year made comparing a country's performance from year to year difficult (a country may improve its indicators while falling in its HDI ranking due to relative better performance by others), a fixed-value system has been implemented. The maximum and minimum values are those observed or expected over the previous three decades, allowing comparison of the country's performance over a 60-year period.


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