Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
This introductory chapter focuses on the concept of development. The low standard of living of the mass of the population in developing countries is singled out as the key issue in development. The development of per capita income over time and the factors that influence economic development or stagnation are important topics in this book. However, the interplay between economic and non-economic factors is of great importance for our understanding of the dynamics of socio-economic development. Economic development cannot be explained by economic factors only, and the concept of development includes more than mere changes in economic indicators.
After a discussion of problems of involvement and detachment in the study of development issues in sections 1.1 and 1.2, we examine the concept of development in sections 1.3 to 1.5. Indicators of growth and development are presented in section 1.6. Section 1.7 highlights the differences between developing countries and the variety of development experiences. The final section addresses the question of what developing countries have in common in spite of all their differences.
Approaches to development
In discussions of development issues two general approaches can be distinguished (see Myint, 1980):
1. The fight against poverty This approach focuses on the problems of widespread poverty, hunger and misery in developing countries and on the question of what can be done in order to realise improvements of the situation in the short term.