What Is Development?


Development is the process by which society organizes its resources to meet challenges and opportunities. It focuses on four different levels of change: physical, social, mental and psychological. Development is not just about wealth and power, it is also about the ability to respond to and manage stress, providing access to quality education and employment, and protecting the environment.

Developing countries need sustained economic growth that is broad-based and beneficial to all people. This includes the elimination of poverty, hunger and disease, the provision of safe drinking water and adequate shelter, basic health care and access to education. Economic development is also about the development of effective institutions and the promotion of human rights.

Development is about the individual’s active participation in shaping the community and country, addressing its challenges and inequalities, and promoting social and economic progress and development. This is achieved through activism, education and entrepreneurship.

Lifespan development, or developmental psychology is the scientific study of how people change and remain the same over time. It focuses on biological, cognitive, and psychosocial processes and involves understanding how a person’s relationships with others foster development. Lifespan development is rooted in the theories of psychoanalysis, but it broke with Freud’s emphasis on sexuality and instead focused on the idea that people face a series of psychosocial crises throughout their lives. These are often referred to as stages, although Erikson did not use this term. Developmental theorists are now realizing that many of the assumptions they made in the past were culturally bound, and so it is important to understand what is culturally based when discussing development.