What Is Development?


Development is the process of human growth and progress. It includes social, economic and environmental improvements. It can be measured by a country’s wealth, culture, education, healthcare, and opportunities for its citizens. Some countries are considered to be more developed than others. They are sometimes referred to as first, second and third world countries. The most common indicators are GDP, or gross domestic product, and HDI, the human development index.

The concept of development has many different definitions and emphases. Some researchers, like Amartya Sen, use the “capability approach” to define development as a tool that helps people achieve their full potential. Others, like Martha Nussbaum, focus on empowerment as a development tool.

Other definitions of development include the improvement of infrastructures and economic growth. For example, if investors invest in a region that does not have good access to hospitals, this will be considered development because the hospital will bring services closer to the community. This in turn will boost the economy because there are more people who need medical attention, which will result in more business activity and money circulation.

A development theory can be viewed as a meta-theory, meaning that it is based on broader assumptions about the nature of humans and their development. For example, some researchers assume that all humans go through the same stages of cognitive development in the same order, and at the same ages. Other researchers, however, endorse lifespan or ecological systems approaches, and believe that pathways of development can vary depending on the individual and their context.