Chapter1 - de Janvry and Sadoulet Chapter 1 What is...

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de Janvry and Sadoulet 1 8/23/10 Chapter 1 What is development? Issues and indicators Seven dimensions of development Development is about well-being, and well-being is clearly a multidimensional concept, with the implication that defining development is an ideological choice . Few would disagree with the statement that development is preferable to underdevelopment. At the same time, there is considerable disagreement across people and nations as to what we mean by development. It is one thing for some and another for others. Some may, for example, like strong states that are the guardians of basic needs in health, education, and housing. This would apply to most of Europe, Canada, and Cuba where the state is the provider of strong social safety nets. Others may prefer high income growth with little poverty, leaving it to individuals to struggle for access to health, education, and social infrastructure. This would characterize countries such as the United States and Brazil. Yet other societies place strong emphasis on equity and on maintaining inequalities within restricted bounds. This would be the case of the Nordic countries that tax heavily high incomes to level out social inequalities through transfers. So, we start the study of development with a paradox. We agree on the desirability of a state of affairs–– development––but we have a difficult time agreeing on defining what it is. This is because development is multidimensional. While there may be situations where we achieve gains in all of these dimensions of development over time, in most situations there will be trade-offs, implying the need to establish social priorities. The dimensions of development and their relative importance are in the end a social and a personal choice, i.e., an ideological statement. So, when talking about development and emitting judgments about it, it is important to be clear as to what we mean. Without this, debates about development are more often than not about irreconcilable ideological differences regarding the definition of development than useful propositions about how to achieve a particular development agenda. Take-home messages for Chapter 1 1. Development is about well-being, and well-being is a multidimensional concept. Hence, there is not one single definition of development that everybody can agree upon. Any development diagnostic (positive analysis) and development program (normative analysis) must clearly specify the definition of development that is being used, and this is a personal and social choice. 2. We recognize seven dimensions of development: income and income growth, poverty and food security, inequality and inequity, vulnerability, basic needs (health, education, nutrition), sustainability in resource use, and quality of life. These seven dimensions can all be measured using corresponding indicators. 3. There is broad agreement, as expressed in the
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Chapter1 - de Janvry and Sadoulet Chapter 1 What is...

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