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Development and globalisation

In studying development it is crucial that you are familiar with the global measures of development. There are two ways development is most commonly measured. These are by using “Gross Domestic Product” (GDP) or “Human Development Index” (HDI).

GDP is a measure of the total value (in $US) of all the products and services produced by a country during a certain period of time, usually a year, this allows comparisons to be made between countries. It is often divided by the total number of people living in a country and then called GDP per capita. Whilst this is useful it can give an inaccurate picture of development in a country. For example, as country may have a large income from oil exports but the wealth is not invested in the infrastructure so that the country can become developed.

HDI provides a better overall picture of the development of a country as it takes into account a number or factors. These measures it uses are:

o Life Expectancy – how long someone is expected to live to at the time they are born

o Literacy Rate – the number of people (age 15+) who can read and write a statement on their everyday life

o Education Index – this is a measure calculated from the number of years schooling (you do not need to know this, just useful for you to know it is part of HDI)

o Income Index – this is the result of a calculation related to income (again, this is only mentioned so you are aware that it is included)

Make sure you know that “quality of life” refers to the well-being of a population whereas “standards of living” means economic factors – this often catches students out.

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