Development – Concept, types and characteristics

We explain what development is, what are the types of developments that exist and some of its main characteristics.

Development is a complex concept that is defined according to very different criteria.

What is development?

The term development has different meanings according to the areas of knowledge that interest us. For example, in biology, it is used to refer to the growth and maturation process of a living being, especially the stage that involves sexual maturation. On the other hand, in the social sciences, we speak of development to refer to the change in the productive conditions of a society, which brings about an improvement in the living conditions for citizens.

In the latter case, it is a complex concept, which is defined and evaluated according to very different criteria, such as access to education, decrease in crime, access to goods and services, etc. In this sense, the purpose of any type of State policies, in principle, aims to achieve the highest degree of development in the different areas of life: the economic, the social, the organizational, etc.

Based on this criterion, in addition, it has traditionally been distinguished between the developed world, made up of the countries of the so-called First World or industrialized countries, and the so-called Third World, made up of developing or underdeveloped countries.

Human development

Human development is an indicator of the quality of life that citizens have.

Human development is understood as degree of satisfaction of basic human needs and respect for the fundamental human rights that a given society has achieved. In other words, it is an indicator of the quality of life possessed by the citizens of a country or a specific region, based on their ability to actively and effectively participate in the construction of a prosperous society in material and spiritual terms.

The most important of the organizations in the world in charge of measuring and studying human development is the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which defines it as “The process of expanding the capabilities of people who expand their options and opportunities”, which takes into consideration simpler variants such as economic development, social development and sustainable development. This organization, attached to the UN, is in charge of preparing the Human Development Index (HDI) with which the different qualities of life between the countries of the world are measured and compared.

Social development

When speaking of social development, allusion is made to improvement of the conditions of human capital and social capital of a given society, that is, the increase in its well-being and in its production and living conditions. A society with a higher rate of social development will have individuals with greater potential in labor matters, with greater capacities to consume goods and services, as well as to satisfy their specific needs, so that this concept is also linked to the economic development of said society. society.

However, what distinguishes social development from purely economic development has to do with the political, social and technological aspects of a society, which are often so interrelated that it is difficult to study them separately. Thus, investment in education, in access to technologies and in political stability and access to participation and social organization, are fundamental elements to guarantee a population its social development.

Economic development

Economic development
Economically developed countries tend to have favorable trade balances.

Economic development is, compared to the previous examples, simpler to define. Is about the ability of a country to generate wealth, in order to maintain the social and human well-being of its population. There are doctrines dedicated to the study of economic development, known as Development economics, and which define economic growth as the most important factor for the economic development of any society. The latter is defined, in turn, as the notable increase in income and therefore in the consumption capacity of the members of society.

There are various ways of achieving economic development, generally linked to the type of majority economic activity in the country and the operation of its financial circuit, that is, the production and investment of wealth. Economically developed countries tend to have favorable trade balances (They export more than they import) and therefore are more independent of market fluctuations, when they are not the ones who just regulate it.

On the other hand, economically underdeveloped countries tend to depend a lot on the importation of goods and services, they have weak and unstable economies, which fluctuate according to the market and which place them in a subaltern situation with respect to the rest of the world.

Sustainable development

Also called sustainable development or lasting development, it is about forms of alternative socio-economic development, that is, different from the traditional model, since they consider the needs of the environment and the responsibility of the species with respect to future generations.

This concept emerged at the end of the 20th century, when the evidence of environmental deterioration as a consequence of the emergence of industrial society and the indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources, such as the loss of biodiversity, the impoverishment of soils and global warming, among others, became very evident.

In addition, sustainable development try to defend human social and spiritual values that are considered key, such as democracy, peace, equality and respect for human rights.

Organizational development

Organizational development
Organizational development allows making strategic change decisions.

Organizational development is a concept that belongs to the field of administration. It is about the study of functioning, improvement and effectiveness of human relations within an organization determined, giving emphasis to human capital and the dynamization of processes from the institutional framework. Thanks to this, the quality of work life of those who are part of the organization can be determined, strategic change decisions can be made, and the organizational model of a company, institution or human group can be evaluated.