Development is often referred to as the Socio-Economic Goal which aims to improve the lives of people around the world through economic development and offering greater freedom along with economic fluidity in the process. It often involves improvement in the quality of life and standard of living. However, development is not always a positive process and rather can include negative factors such as life expectancy, economic growth etc. When measuring development, we need a holistic and well-rounded approach which encompasses social, economic and political factors. A common measurement is HDI( Human Development Index) and is encompasses: Physical Well-Being ( Life Expectancy ), Education( Expected Years Of Schooling ), Standard of living (GDP)(PPP), but there are limitations as it hides things like the disparity between places.
However, there are many other ways too to measure development such as MPI ( Multidimensional Poverty Index ), MDGs ( Millennium Development Goals ) and SDGs ( Sustainable Development Goals ).HDI is mainly a social measurement because it takes into consideration education, which is adult literacy rate and years of schooling, health care which is judged by life expectancy and finally the economic factor of GDP giving a full and effective measurement of development. HDI measures these factors between 0 and 1, one being the best and zero being the worse. The HDI is a very useful measure of development because it includes economic and social indicators which reduces any anomalies. In additions, due to its holistic nature, it can very effectively recognise different dimensions of development, taking a well-rounded approach and more easily, yet accurately, measure against different countries.
For instance, Norway is at the top of the charts at 0,949 points which very accurately reflects Norway’s development as a first-world country with relatively high GDP , great education, and high life expectancy. On the other hand, in Ireland which is in a high position 8 with 0.923and has jumped 0.003 from previous year, it paints a very rosy picture of Ireland. On the surface, Ireland is indeed doing very well with GDP rising to 294.1 billion USD and a 26.
3% growth of GDP in 2015. As a quickly developing region, it has many peripheral regions like the Northern end of Ireland which is underdeveloped with debt levels at an all-time high. In addition, high unemployment( 15% in peripheral region; 6.1%is national average) and poverty is quite common in these regions, a stark contrast to the CBD and areas with high economic activity. This proves that although it provides a well-rounded measurement of development, it does have some shortcomings in doing so as it hides the disparity within space which is a prevalent issue not just in Ireland, but in countries like China, India etc. Many might argue that HDI is a measurement of relative rather than absolute development. It is largely dependent on GDP Per Capita and lacks correlation with different variables and dimensions of development such as political freedom like ins Singapore which is quite low despite Singapore being in 5th position at 0.925 points.
HDI unfortunately does conceal averages and different aspects of development and hides disparity between space. Nevertheless, although the HDI measures overall progress in a country in reaching a particular stage of development, based on the three aspects it measures it fails to exemplify the differences between rural and urban areas, between different regions or even between different genders and even inequalities in income distribution HDI too does not measure of human rights or freedom, as it is difficult to measure compared to measuring the economic development within a country. Despite social and economic indicators having contain merits, they have shortcomings. HDI in general is a better indicator because it reveals the general standard of living and the extent of each and every country. However, in our ever-changing world, HDI does not take into account constant review of views and defections of the term development in this ever-changing world. As such it is imperative that we use other Measures like MPI, MDGs and SDGs which would allow development to be better measured and a combinations of measures would allow development to be more accurately measured.The development also can be measured by MPI which focuses on poverty and the many dimensions it encompasses which plays an integral role in measuring development.
The UN states that MPI is a measurement that complements monetary measures of poverty by considering overlapping deprivations suffered by individuals at the same time. The index identifies deprivations across the same three dimensions as the HDI and shows the number of people who are multidimensionally poor (suffering deprivations in 33% or more of the weighted indicators). It can be deconstructed by region, ethnicity and other groupings as well as by dimension and indicator, allowing a holistic approach and analyze the disparity within space, something the HDI struggles to do. The UN states that “1.
5 billion people in the 102 developing countries currently covered by the MPI—about 29 percent of their population — live in multidimensional poverty, with at least 33 percent of the indicators reflecting acute deprivation in health, education, and standard of living. And close to 900 million people are at risk (vulnerable) to fall into poverty if setbacks occur – financial, natural or otherwise.” MPI is a holistic measurement of development unlike in the past whereby people who earned less than a dollar a day was considered poor.
Now it encompasses a wide range of factors such as education, child mortality rate etc. In all, it is do a more rounded approach to assessing development and is a way better measurement and a more accurate of garnering data about poverty and at in the world. Now with the new and up-to-date MPI, it allows moral, emotional and spiritual dimensions of poverty to be included too allowing a very well-rounded view on the issue of poverty and gives us a better way of measuring development in a particular region.Another way in which development can be measured is MDG which is closely interlinked with MDI. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), endorsed by governments at the United Nations in September 2000, aim to improve human well-being by reducing poverty, hunger, child, and maternal mortality, ensuring education for all, controlling and managing diseases, tackling gender disparity, ensuring sustainable development and pursuing global partnerships. Its focus might be limited to these 8 goals but in these fields, major improvements to people’s lives have been achieved. For instance measurement in fields like combating/AIDS, malaria and other diseases ( Goal 6) which is not measured in terms of poverty or HDI ( which focuses on the economy). This aspect is measured in MDG and therefore allows a more rounded and complete measurement of development in the region.
For example, At the end of 2010, 6.5 million people were receiving antiretroviral therapy for HIV or AIDS in developing regions. The incidence of new HIV infections per year per 100 people aged 15-49 in 2010 was highest in Sub-Saharan Africa (0.41) and Southern Africa (1.08).
For developing regions, the incidence of HIV has fallen from 0.09 in 2001 to 0.07 in 2010.
MDG is indeed a more scalable and more holistic approach when it comes to dealing with development as it varies across space and does analyze the situation in the different parts of a country. Many might argue that it might be a myopic assessment of development as it only analyses 8 goals and fails to look at broader social goals or environmental goals in the pursuit of development. Despite the many successes in measuring development the poorest and most vulnerable fail to benefit and as such fails to allow a whole development of the country.
MDG has many advantages and allows it to be effective in measuring development, but it fails to take into account sustainable development and instead just scratches the surface on many of these aspects without really measuring the true value of development.To aid in the shortcomings caused by the MDG, the UN has come out with a more holistically approach to measuring development that would be better suited to today’s context. In 2016 UN officially adopt replacements for the eight Millennium Development Goals. The MDGs, which came into force in 2000, is scheduled for retirement in 2015 and replaced by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well 169 additional targets to better allow development to be measured and assessed to allow more expedient improvements and development in various countries especially the LDCs.Unlike the MDGs, which only focused on the ‘developing world’, the SDGs – with global targets such as ending poverty, ending hunger and achieving gender equality – will apply to all countries. They also expand well beyond the narrow fields targeted by the Millennium Goals, addressing central factors such as sustainability and economic growth, which, over the past 15 years, became increasingly recognized as essential components to consider when planning such large-scale, long-term development targets. Through SDG it has a goal of creating more awareness for the need for sustainable development and not just focus on improving the economy but rather have all stakeholders like the Government, The People, NGOs etc. to use a multi-pronged approach to measure development and assess the state of development and what action should be taken by relevant parties to ensure expedient rates of development in the region.
SDG is indeed a bottom-up approach, a very raw and pragmatic measurement of development as it encompasses a whole new spectrum towards the measurement of development, giving us a whole new perspective on development as such. It is now aimed at development not as a mission for individual countries and all to their own economic benefit. this approach to measure and assess development is a holistic rather than a narrow and simplistic approach. It has shifted from a “Win-Lose” approach, rather to a road towards a sustainable future, a future which we want. Therefore, SDH’s many aspects of development does indeed provide us with an updated look on our measurement of development.
All in all, there are a plethora of ways development can be measured, rather instead of looking at the surface of development of just being a case of economic development, rather we need a more rounded, a more holistically approach which includes the social economic and political aspects as well as measuring development in the various regions of a country, the different regions through space. In addition, we need to take into account t that times are changing and poverty along with development is changing at a fast pace. We need to update ourselves to look at it in a more rounded perspective and not neglect the poor and vulnerable in a country rather work toward sustainable development for all. It is only through looking at different aspects through time and space can you really be able to well and truly measure development.