Monday, October 19, 2015

‘The meaning of development’

Dr ‘Toyin Kolawole - Okavango Research Institute

In his seminal paper titled The Meaning of Development published in the IDS Communication Series 44 of 1969 at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) based in the University of Sussex, England, Dudley Seers (1920–1983) painstakingly constructed the scaffolding for understanding the concept of development.

In that paper, Professor Seers - who belonged to the structuralists’ school of thought - asked three pertinent questions in relation to a country’s level of development in this manner: ‘What has been happening to poverty? What has been happening to unemployment? What has been happening to inequality?’ He then concluded that a country would be adjudged to have experienced development if all the three problems have been alleviated significantly. If one or two or all the three of these major problems are unabated, he continued, it would then be unusual to gauge the country in question as having experienced ‘development’ even in situations where per capita income has increased significantly.

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