Measuring World Development Essay

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Measuring World Development

Development is a complex economic, social and political phenomenon. There are a range of simple and composite indicators used to measure development. There are many definitions of development, perhaps the most used is;

“Development refers to a number of characteristics such as demographic change, economic growth, an increase in the case of resources, modernisation, higher levels of technology and political freedom.”

Indicators of development are put into four sectors: Economic, Social, Political and environmental.

These factors can be broken down into two groups, simple and composite. Such simple indictors would be birth rate, death rate and GNP.
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These types of countries are not necessarily ‘not developed’, they just have different customs, cultural differences or they could be nomadic (farming based) or an indigenous population, as described above.

Maps of the globe are produced to show levels of world development based on three key features; wealth, social advantage and deprivation. An imaginary line can be seen around the world which separates the ‘developed’ countries and the ‘non developed’ countries. This line is called the Brandt line. It is a modern day method of measuring development. It basically separates countries based on how economically stable a country is, how technologically advanced it is, how democratic and how modern a country is. The line shows ‘most developed’ countries to the north and west, whereas the ‘least developed’ countries to the south and east. As with every theory, there are exceptions. These being Australia and New Zealand, which are classed as ‘developed’ countries.

Other indicators of development that are being used today are the PQLI, which is the physical quality of life index. Also the IHSI, which is the International Human Suffering Index. The PQLI is a quantitative measure of development and can be calculated by taking the average of three variables. These are life expectancy, literacy rates,
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