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Measuring World Development Essay

1202 words - 5 pages

Measuring World Development

Development is a complex economic, social and political phenomenon.
There are a range of simple and composite indicators used to measure
development. There are many definitions of development, perhaps the
most used is;

“Development refers to a number of characteristics such as demographic
change, economic growth, an increase in the case of resources,
modernisation, higher levels of technology and political freedom.”

Indicators of development are put into four sectors: Economic, Social,
Political and environmental.

These factors can be broken down into two groups, simple and
composite. Such simple indictors would be birth rate, death rate and
GNP. Examples of composite indicators are PQLI, HDI and HSI. All of
these indicators can be measured quantitatively. The HDI is the human
development index, which is based on adult literacy rates, standard of
living based on GNP per capita, life expectancy and income. The HDI
is a measure of how well people can live long, healthy and creative

However, qualitative measures of development are non quantitative.
Examples of these are freedom and security, human suffering index,
human development index, sustainability, conservation and the plight
of indigenous people. These indicators do not strictly follow the
definition as described above. This definition is mainly based upon
the MEDC interpretation of ‘developed’ or ‘developing’. It does not
look at things which to some people, may also determine a ‘developed’
or ‘non developed’ country. For example, aborigines in Australia,
according to the definition would most certainly not be classed as
‘developed’. However, their way of life is far less stressful and
easy going, compared to the hustle and bustle of city life in
‘developed’ countries, such as the UK. These types of countries are
not necessarily ‘not developed’, they just have different customs,
cultural differences or they could be nomadic (farming based) or an
indigenous population, as described above.

Maps of the globe are produced to show levels of world development
based on three key features; wealth, social advantage and
deprivation. An imaginary line can be seen around the world which
separates the ‘developed’ countries and the ‘non developed’
countries. This line is called the Brandt line. It is a modern day
method of measuring development. It basically separates countries
based on how economically stable a country is, how technologically
advanced it is, how democratic and how modern a country is. The line
shows ‘most developed’ countries to the north and west, whereas the
‘least developed’ countries to the south and east. As with every
theory, there are exceptions. These being Australia and New Zealand,
which are classed as ‘developed’ countries.


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