What is Development?

In terms of how we look at “development,” it is integral to take into consideration the many current frameworks and theories. In the context of international development today, we see how the field is constantly changing. These alterations can be traced to multiple intertwined factors that at the same time foster their own impact on the development arena. We see how our environment can impact the food security and agricultural production of an entire nation. Or how an international sanction can endanger a country’s economic development. Foreign aid can help, but also hinder a nation. With such topics all having their own roles in the sector, identifying the best approach appears to be tricky. This is why we need to determine what should serve as a platform or foundation for international development. As discussed in class, Amartya Sen’s Development As Freedom highlights how development consists of choices involve where you live and how you decide to live along with the totality of a developed society. In terms of long-term major structural changes, Sen explains how these do not take place quick or may not even occur at all.

We see the practical exemplification of theory in development through the dependency theory. In this theory, there is a form of labor internationally divided between countries. Moreover, we have two sets of nations: the core and the periphery. In terms of industry, the core dominates. The periphery has cheap labor and agriculture that is exploited, expropriated and then appropriated by the core for their own economic benefit and gains. In each country, there is a clear divide between the rich and the poor and elites cooperate across national divisions to maintain this system. All of this exists in a larger international system under global capitalism. Under this theory, the system is geared towards solely benefiting the wealthy. Through this flow of development, we see how developing nations mainly consist of the regions. We can include nations in Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia in this category. Those nations in the core include those in North America, Europe and in many cases China. These nations consisting of the core utilize the resources available in the periphery with little respect for the rule of law of human rights in these nations. In the case of many African nations, China has become a beacon for trade and investment. Due to the Chinese, development has been rampant across the continent in areas such as ICT development, infrastructure and economic development.