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What is development?

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Introduction

What is development? Development is a political theory, which traces its origins back to the aftermath of the Second World War. On January 29 1949, Harry Truman, President of the United States of America famously referred to the Southern hemisphere as being "underdeveloped areas"1 and that it was the duty of Western states to assist them in developing. As with most political ideas, it is widely disputed as to the actual meaning of development is and there is no universally agreed definition of the term in relation to this subject. However what most people can agree upon is that the "underdeveloped areas" described by Truman are more commonly referred to as the Third World and include much of Asia, almost all of Africa and some countries in South and Central America. The majority of those who live in the Third World live in abject poverty, it is estimated that around 1 billion people are in a daily struggle to find enough food to eat, between 400 and 1400 million do not receive adequate food to survive and around 2 billion people do not have safe water to drink. Around 40,000 children (around 10x the number of people who died in the September 11th terrorist attacks on America) ...read more.

Middle

Increasingly it is accepted (most Western governments don't) that development and quality of life can't always be measured purely in economic terms. Hundreds of millions across the world are malnourished, illiterate and without access to adequate health care. The theory of conventional development needs to change it's single-minded focus on GDP and furthering free markets to a more humanised based outlook, which focuses on developing health care and education, protecting the environment on which we are all dependant upon, enabling people to feed themselves and their family and showing sufficient respect and concern for the many different cultures of the Third World. This has lead to the creation of the Human Development Index (HDI) by the United Nations Development Programme. The HDI takes into account life expectancy, adult literacy, role of women in the society and local purchasing power, all of which it can be argued offers an equal if not superior guide to how developed a country is than the traditional GDP measuring of development. UN reports show that there can be a vast difference between the GDP and HDI measurements of development, according to GDP measurement, countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (which have huge oil reserves, on which Western states are heavily dependant upon) ...read more.

Conclusion

Third World leaders knew they could not go back to their countries and destroy their economies and forcing millions out of jobs and at the same time not being able to pay back the debts owed to First World nations. Once again, the First World had dealt the Third World the bad card and attempted to tell those nations that they should not strive for the rich world's industrialised, urbanised and affluent ways because it would have a hugely negative affect on the environment, yet at the same time, the First World was unwilling to cut back on it's bad treatment own of the environment. Obviously the world's resources simply will not be able to support the entire world living in the standard that we in the First World take for granted, therefore it is important that the First World either compromises on it's own overuse of the world's natural resources or it subsidies the Third World to enable them to develop without using as much. To conclude, it is quite clear that the traditional view of development has not been particularly beneficial to the people of the Third World. The current evolution in political thinking about development has been long overdue and absolutely necessary but there is still much more to do. FOOTNOTES 1] Richard M. Auty, Patterns of Development, Edward Arnold Publishing (1995) 2]www.4tpgi.com.au/users/resolve/globalcrisis/3rdworld.html 3]www.4tpgi.com.au/users/resolve/globalcrisis/3rdworld.html 4] John Baylis & Steve Smith, The Globalisation of World Politics (2nd Edition), Oxford University Press (2000) 5]www.theatlantic.com/issues/99dec/9912kapur. ...read more.

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