The Problems of Defining Development

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The Problems of Defining Development

Development is very difficult to define as it has a wide range of

meanings and has therefore been used in a variety of ways, by

different people or organizations at different times. For example,

geographers will link development with improvements in human welfare

e.g. greater wealth, better education and health. Many geographers

will measure development in terms of the countries HDI (Human

Development Index). However, on the other hand economists will link

development to developed/developing economies and will use GNP (Gross

National Product) and GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to measure it.

These are examples of two definitions of development, however it needs

to be said that technological improvement and justice are also

interrelated features which need to be considered. This essay will

detail will examine how development is defined and the relative

inaccuracies which surround it.

Good, you define terms and introduce the purpose of the essay

As mentioned above, many economists use GNP or GDP to measure

development. GNP maybe defined as the total value, or output of goods

and services which a country produces which become available during a

period of tie (usually a year) for consumption or saving plus foreign

investments. GNP is usually expressed per capita. Explain why and

possibly give some examples of different countries.

GNP does have its weakness because it does not take into account

inequalities in income, it only states the national average. It does

not take into account general costs of living, as well as regional

variations. A more realistic measure of differences would be to


... middle of paper ...

... It can be deduced that although social and economic indicators do have

their relative

merits, they have many weaknesses. Generally, it can be said that

economic indicators measures the wealth of the country but gives

little indication of the standard of living of the majority of people.

The World Bank does classify GNP as an economic indicator of

development but stresses that,

'Classification by income does not necessarily reflect development


Expand on the reasons behind this. You should also name your source

Social indicators may seem to be better indicators because they revel

the general standard of living in a country; however they do not

reflect inequalities in income distribution. They also don't take into

account constant review as definitions and concepts of the term

development change.

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