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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. When assessing the effectiveness of international progression, one needs to attain a variety of criteria: social, economic and environmental development have all been used to measure the quality of life as an indicator of levels of, or stages of development. Development is defined as 'the process of change operating over time'. At one time, development was taken to mean only economic development, so that modernisation could be achieved by rapid economic growth. In the late 1960's and early 1970's, this definition was extended to include not just economic growth but social indicators such as; adequate food and jobs, health, reduced income inequality and self-reliance. Another definition identified three key values of life-sustenance, self-esteem and freedom as being at the core development. In real terms, this meant a greater emphasis on basic needs, ensuring greater equality of access for all people. Development is clearly a complex and wide-ranging process involving cultural, economic, environmental, political, social and technological change. The analysis of a range of variables, called multivariate analysis, is therefore necessary to provide useful information. Fig 1: The development cable. When measuring differences in development it is often useful to use indicators. ...read more.

Middle

Brazil 2080 2.0 50.6 Argentina 2330 4.4 35.2 Mexico 2840 2.9 40.6 Venezuela 4840 3.0 35.7 Despite these limitations, both GDP and GNP are still regarded as a relatively good indicator of development and a good measure for comparing differences between countries [see figure 2]. Changing definitions of development have meant changing indicators of development. It is still to a certain extent, common to use gross national product per person [GNP per person] and gross domestic product per person [GDP per person], to compare countries and measure the level of development. However, these total measures of wealth give little indication of the actual standards of living of the majority of people. The World Bank classifies countries by GNP but recognises that 'classification by income does not necessarily reflect development status'. Due to the shortcomings of GNP/GDP per head figures and other single indicators of human welfare, a composite index made up of a number of indicators can be used. This is usually known as a 'quality of life' index because the indicators tend to be about human welfare and social well-being rather than pure materialism. These individual indicators can be used, and in combination they enable comparisons to be made which highlight differences even where GNP per person is the same [see figure 5 below] Figure 3 Country GNP per capita ...read more.

Conclusion

However, most indicators come from a very western point of view. The most frequently used [GDP and GNP]seem to be directly linked to money. 'With the greening of development, the task in the future will be to devise indices that measure sustainable development in all aspects of economic activity.' Sue Warn The New Internationalist comments that sustainability means securing a satisfying 'quality of life' for all, one which is based on material equality and social justice, and challenging fundamental notions of consumer society. One of the ways it says that we can do this is to look at the values central to our lives. 'The 'ecological footprint' concept can be part of this: monitoring our own impact on the Earth and constantly trying to reduce it, whether by car-sharing, shopping more locally or investing in solar panels.' Development is increasingly difficult to measure solely on a whole-country basis. For example, recent communications and information technologies have opened up some well-placed areas in LEDCs to the world market, for example the Delhi-Mumbai corridor and Bangalore in India. Such areas have been called 'First Worlds in the Third World.' According to the United Nations, 'it is impossible to come up with a comprehensive measure- or even a comprehensive set of indicators - because many vital dimensions of human development are non-quantifiable' 1 Vanessa Bowen Candidate number 8698 ...read more.

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