The Changing Perspective of Development

The term “development” has become a by-word after the Second World War resulting from the growing attention of the industrialized West to the conditions of the Third World countries. Since then, the concept has evolved into various perspectives. Ironically, at times the interpretation has caused debates, conflict and division, at the expenses of the people who is the real subject and not merely an object of development.

At its broadest, development means quite simply “improving society.” Since the society comprises no more than the people it is made up of, development, therefore, can mean, “enabling people to achieve their aspirations.” The choice of the word “enabling” instead of “providing” connotes that true development is done by people not to people. The government and non-government organizations or networks through various programs and services might coordinate such development, but the people themselves achieve it.

Understanding development is more comprehensive when put in the context of the reason why it was introduced, i.e. poverty. Poverty is a worldwide phenomenon resulting from defects in the socio-economic, political and cultural structures. It is not restricted to low income, but also lack or limited access to socio-economic services and opportunities.

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