What Is Development?


Development is the process of change that leads to growth or progress. It is often associated with a better quality of life for people, improved living standards and economic growth. It involves a rise in productivity without depleting natural resources. It also means more advanced healthcare facilities, good education for children and women, and the right to equality for homosexuals.

Society passes through well-defined stages as it develops: from nomadic hunting and gathering, through rural agrarian, urban, commercial, industrial, and post-industrial societies. In each stage, innovations improve the organization of society to take advantage of opportunities and cope with challenges. These improvements are called “development” because they result in more sophisticated ways of organizing resources and activities. They may occur at four levels: physical, social, mental, and psychological.

The development of a country depends on its capacity to harness natural, financial and human resources to exploit new opportunities and tackle new challenges. Natural resources include land, water and raw materials. Financial and human resources include money, technology, knowledge, energy, and skills.

Many scholars agree that a developed nation needs to have access to all of these resources to prosper and achieve its goals. But they differ over the allocation of these resources. Some advocate that a developed nation must provide free public education and universal healthcare in order to improve its citizens’ health, while others say that these resources should be used to boost the economy and promote peace and stability.