Development Theory

Development is a concept that lacks a universally accepted definition. Development in terms of countries is defined by Sen as people’s ability to access freedoms of all kinds. Sen’s ideas are based on a theoretical concept of development which includes expanding people’s capabilities and giving them access to tangible freedoms. This means that development is not simply based on economic factors but of social, political, and civil factors that provide people within a country to have freedoms. Increasing freedoms to all people is the basis of inclusive development in which every person has complete access to the freedoms offered by a country.

In a more economical sense, Acemoglu and Robinson claim that development is the inclusivity of economic institutions which allows all people to participate in opportunities. Development has 3 inter- related definitions; long term, short to medium term, and a dominant discourse. Long term development focuses on structural societal change. Short to medium term development utilizes targets and indicators such as the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals. Dominant discourse development refers more specifically to western ideals of modernization.

Personally, I am more a believer in Sen’s ideals of development as they are more applicable to the diversity of countries and allow for more inclusivity in terms of who has access to the freedoms that developed countries offer.