Harnessing the Creative Spirit in a Diverse World
Edited by Uma Suthersanen, Graham Dutfield and Kit Boey Chow
Graham Dutfield and Uma Suthersanen 1.1 Development and Diversity ‘Development’, a word borrowed from biology, is a term whose meaning is contested by social scientists and international development experts and organ isations. Nowadays, it is common to speak of ‘economic development’, which focuses on a country’s measurable economic performance relative to other countries; of ‘human development’, which supplements economic development by incorporating social welfare considerations; and of ‘sustainable development’, which takes into account the environment as well. Conventionally, the extent of a country’s development is quantified by using certain indicators of income and output, such as gross national product (GNP). This is, of course, economic development. At its crudest, the economic progress of different countries is compared by making country league tables, with the richest nations according to GNP per capita at the top and the poorest with the lowest figures propping up the table at the bottom. The World Bank’s annual World Development Reports rank countries in this way (although the reports provide various other indicators of development as well). More commonly, though, we tend to talk of developed countries and developing countries as if there are no other kinds of country. Alternatively, but similarly, following the 1980 report of the Independent Commission on International Development Issues chaired by former West German Chancellor Willi Brandt, the developed world is ‘the North’ and the developing world is ‘the South’. In 1971, though, the United Nations (UN) carved out a sub-category of the latter grouping, the ‘least developed countries’ (LDCs). At...
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