The quote below is about the nature of the development process, at least as it used to be understood. It is taken from an article in the March issue of the journal Development and Change, which provides a forum for the interdisciplinary discussion of current issues of development.
Here, development is seen as a process of transformation and the achievement of greater human well-being across a population, rather than simply poverty reduction by itself. Historically, the latter actually seems to have been achieved and sustained through socioeconomic change rather than narrow targets aiming just to reduce poverty.
This idea also has implications for applying notions of development to richer countries which, despite them having already made the transition to capitalism, are still undergoing a process of transformation, and are therefore in some ways still ‘developing’ socially and economically.
“Inherently multi-dimensional, before the 1980s and the ascendance of neoliberalism, development was understood as encompassing social and economic transformation. Inherent in the idea of development was a project of industrialization (and associated structural transformation of an economy), urbanization, transformations of social institutions and social relations, and improvements in human well-being…accumulation in the ‘modern sector’ allows for it to be taxed for the financing of education, health care and a range of public goods that enhance people’s well-being. Development goes beyond a quantitative increase in aggregate output, as important as that may be; its meaningfulness is to be found in the qualitative improvement in people’s well-being and how command over resources translates in to qualities of ‘doings’ and ‘beings’…[T]hese concerns about the ends of development are captured in the slogan of ‘a better life for all’. This was understood as applying to the full range of people within a territory: the expansion of opportunities and enhancement of quality of living. Development was not simply concerned with the relief of poverty. In the development process ‘structural and institutional factors were assigned a key role in the development process. In the initial phase of the field, the state was also assigned a large role in promoting development almost as a historical imperative’.
Jimi O. Adesina