Development is for people, of people, and by people. Literature on development studies notes that the discussion has evolved from the economic aspect to a holistic approach on the issue. Debates on the issue seem to answer an aspect of man–the basic needs approach sees development in satisfying his material needs while the capability approach sees development in expanding man’s ability to be the steward of his own development. Both approaches in themselves are valuable, but both have to be considered with the knowledge that man is at the center of development. He is, after all, the material, formal, efficient and final cause of development. Man is the beginning, the means and the end of any developmental effort. However, which of these two aspects of development must be given priority depends on the knowledge of its advocates and supporters of who and what man is.
This essay will unfold through 1) A discussion on what the terms development and sustainable development mean and imply; 2) The underscoring of the goals of development; and 3) An explanation on why education in freedom is needed for an increased sensitivity of cultural traditions.
II. Development for what
Development is usually defined “as the significant and measurable economic growth, and the emergence of social, economic, and political institutions.” Development is clearly a process that involves change that is empirically verifiable within a given period, thus making the time element a central factor. This can be seen, for example, in assessing noticeable differences in the state of affairs from the start of an intervention to when such involvement ceases. There could also be intermediate measurements to check the effectiveness of proposed solutions to existing substandard conditions. It is hoped that progress made within that period continues even when aid from external benefactors has been exhausted.
External and internal interventions usually rely on current available resources in giving assistance to beneficiaries. The World Commission on Environment and Development therefore defines sustainable development as the kind of “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts: the concept of ‘need,’ in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given, and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs.”
These definitions place economic growth beside the need to preserve the immediate physical environment; hence the campaign to protect the earth’s resources. From these we see that mainstream strategies seeking to address the problem of development only focus on one or few needs. Education, population control, free trade, development of credit and capital markets through a violent revolution, the...