The idea of development is rooted in the ideas of progress and modernity (industrialisation, urbanisation and use of technology) and this has their origins in the 17 and 18 century Enlightenment period But what is modern for some is progress and for others eradication of cultural practices, destruction of the environment and to some degree decline of the quality of life. As it drives from western experience, many in the global south and others assert that it is a way of imposing western values on others at times by force.
Dudley Seers and Amartya Sen have been critical of the neoclassical economic theory which emphases growth as an engine of development. The advocates of this approach are Arthur Lewis, (1955) and Walter Rostow (1960). The later suggests that growth over time lead to trickling down of economic benefits to the poor. Initially the UN stressed economic growth then this was later questioned by the UN data.
Meaning of Development
For A. K. Sen (1999) who was interested in the ethical dimension development meant reducing deprivation or broadening of choice. For him Deprivation represents a multidimensional view of poverty that include hunger, illiteracy, illness and poor health, powerlessness, voicelessness, insecurity, humiliation, and lack of access to basic infrastructure. A. K. Sen pointed out the ultimate goal is freedom. For him the most important issue is how to overcome deprivation. He does not rely on individuals’ attainments (basic needs) but individuals capabilities. He emphases on small number of basic functioning central to well-being. Poverty is not low well-being but the inability to pursue well-being. He rejected the conventional method used to measure poverty. Even the World Bank agreed to Sen’s analyses in the 1990.
Although the ideological line is not important anymore with the collapse of the USSR, the definition of development remains contested as is measuring development too. Some see development in economic terms. This is the view held by the World Bank (WB) and many governments both in the south and north.
ABBA HAILEGEBRIEL GIRMA, PhD Copyright © 2010 - 2018 All Rights Reserved