What Is Development?


Development is the process of making societies and people better. It involves raising living standards and providing opportunities for education, employment and social interaction. It also involves helping people find ways to solve problems. Development focuses on social, economic and environmental issues.

The development of countries often depends on factors such as their ability to grow food and export it to other countries for sale or use. In addition, the availability of health care, education and jobs often influences the level of development a country experiences.

Many development issues are global and require cooperation and support from a wide variety of organizations. These include non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government agencies, international institutions and the private sector. Corporations are a major source of funding for development projects around the world, often through their corporate social responsibility budgets and foundations.

The concept of development emerged in the second half of the twentieth century, as it became clear that simply increasing trade and technology did not lead to improvements in standard of living or human well being for all. Some countries experienced significant gains, while others remained stuck at lower levels of development, and continued to face challenges such as poverty, hunger, disease, wars and long-term domestic conflict.

Some theorists view development as a kind of evolution, occurring in stages that include nomadic hunting and gathering, rural agrarian, urban commercial and industrial. These phases are defined by the introduction of new ideas and practices. As these changes are introduced, some traditional elements resist, while others gradually adopt them. Other theorists, such as Vygotsky and information processing theorists, view development as a process that is continuously ongoing throughout life. This continuous change is a function of brain development and a person’s environmental experiences.