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Evaluate the usefulness of the range of criteria available for measuring levels of development at a global scale?

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Introduction

Evaluate the usefulness of the range of criteria available for measuring levels of development at a global scale? In the book development and underdevelopment by Garret Nagle, the term development is defined as: "The growth and modernisation of an economy, and an increase in per capita income and gross national product (GNP). While these are important aspects of development, increasing recognition must be given to improving the quality of life of the population, e.g. education, health care, cultural values and housing." Indicators that I am going to use to answer the question are GNP, life expectancy, illiteracy, safe water, infant mortality and population growth. I am also going to use some composite indexes and show how they are used; I will use a range of locations so that we can see how different countries vary. People often believe that development is to do with wealth and money of a country; this is because the most commonly used development indicator is wealth, gross national product (GNP) per capita - the total economic output of a country divided by its population. However this assumes that if a country is wealthy then the quality of life will be high, although high GNP per capita can disguise massive differences in the wealth of individuals and levels of human well being within the country. ...read more.

Middle

In figure 2 on the next page it shows us an example of a composite index and the variation between different indicators. From figure 1a on page 3 and figure 1b on page 4 you can see that Switzerland has the highest GNP with 36080, although it doesn't have the best results for life expectancy, illiteracy, infant mortality and population growth. Whereas Japan has got the better result for life expectancy, infant mortality and has a lower population increase but it is let down by safe water as 4% of population don't have access to clean water and has a lower GNP with 28190. However both of these countries compared to Kenya and Ethiopia are much more developed; Kenya GNP is only 310 compared to Switzerland's 36080. The life expectancy is fairly low at 59 years, there is a high level of illiteracy, just over half of the population do not have access to clean water, infant mortality is fairly high and it has a large annual population increase. Ethiopia is the overall least developed country it has the lowest GNP out of all the countries with 110, has the lowest life expectancy with average age of 49 years, only 18% of the whole population have access to clean water and also has the highest infant mortality rate with 122 per 1000 babies dying. ...read more.

Conclusion

which all have a lower HDI value. I have come to the conclusion that there is no index capable of showing the wealth and diversity of different countries, and all the indicators available are too general and ignore inequalities. I have also come to the conclusion that when measuring development the indicators used must be selected very carefully to obtain the results you want, for example: If you require to measure the well being of people within countries you are best to use the human development index, but if you want measure the economic development of a country you need to use indicators like average income and industrial output. Measuring development at the moment doesn't take into account the 'environmentally considerate development' and sustainable development, which is the change that allows improvements to be sustained. Development will continue to be a complex issue, because there will never be an index which will be able to show wealth and well-being, with out including the inequalities. There needs to be improvements in measuring and explaining indicators so that people are aware of the inequalities which are very important, as there are still many challenges facing both industrial and developing countries. With the support of the relevant and reliable measures of development the governments around the world will be able to develop programmes that address the needs of the deprived and ignored people of the world. Measuring development will help to identify the achievements of countries, and allow strategies for countries who are trying to move forward. 1 Ben King ...read more.

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