The Concept of Development
Development is the process of improving people’s lives through access to resources, technology, education, wealth, opportunity and choice. Geographers use the concept of development to describe patterns and processes associated with income, well-being, and opportunity in a variety of places and times across the globe.
Various forms of Development
Economic development refers to the processes associated with increasing income, reducing poverty and achieving a more equitable distribution of resources for a greater number of individuals. Often this involves increased access to resources such as land, water, electricity and education, as well as improved health care, food and housing.
Developing countries may pursue different forms of development to achieve these goals. For example, some countries have embraced international trade models that emphasize the specialization of products and services for export to a global marketplace. This strategy, however, has been associated with a range of problems including poor air quality and depleted water supplies.
Resource Curse/Dutch Disease
Those countries that are blessed with abundant natural resources often experience difficulties in sustaining development and progress due to the activities associated with cultivation, mining, and extraction of these resources. These problems can be significant enough to hinder a country’s efforts to develop.
Collectivist Modes of Development
These modes of development are often characterized by policies such as progressive tax regimes, affordable healthcare and higher education for all, protections for marginalized groups and community ownership of land or other assets. These policies can encourage a more productive, sustainable form of development that creates equitable distribution and balance.