The word development has different meanings. In the first place, it can be understood as the process of evolution, change and growth related to an object, a person or a certain situation. On the other hand, the term development can be applied to situations that affect a set of aspects, for example the human development of a nation. Despite the different meanings, the concept we analyze normally has a positive meaning in its different uses.
Development as a synonym for evolution
Everything is subject to change and transformation. If we think of a living being, its existence is due to biological processes. In this sense, a seed becomes a tree and cells are altered until they become an individual being of a species. There are many disciplines that study evolution in some sense. In fact, in biology the theory of evolution is the current scientific paradigm. On the other hand, there are disciplines that deal with evolution in some specific aspect (embryology, geology, evolutionary psychology, among many others).
We need to measure and calculate the situations that affect us as a community. In this sense, there is the Human Development Index. This indicator is applied to each nation and has a statistical approach with three fundamental pillars: health, education and standard of living. There are other indices related to humanity (for example, the poverty index).
When it comes to locating the development of a country, there is a general classification established by the UN annually (the aforementioned Human Development Index), which establishes the following general division: developed, underdeveloped and developing countries. In the first group there are nations such as the United States, Switzerland, Germany, Chile or Australia. In the second group there are countries such as Haiti, Eritrea, Somalia or Afghanistan. Some nations are in an intermediate, developing situation (eg Kenya, Thailand or Cambodia).
The concept of development applied to the economy does not satisfy all analysts. In fact, some consider that the conventional parameters that are used to measure the growth of a nation do not express true economic development. For this reason, in recent years a new concept, sustainable development, has been incorporated.
The concept of sustainable development is based on a general principle: growth must be socially fair, compatible with environmental balance and economically viable. This means that a balance must be sought between the various social classes. From the ecological point of view, it is advocated that economic activity must be compatible with the preservation of the planet. And all this must be adapted to a productive and efficient economic system.
Sustainable development as a global approach is to say that there must be economic and social growth but not at any price, since we must think about the limited resources of the planet and future generations.
Approaches against economic development
Throughout history there have been circumstances in which there has been opposition to economic development, as it has been considered a threat or a perversion. Along these lines, there are three paradigmatic examples:
1) The position of Jesus Christ against the merchants occupying the Temple of Jerusalem. For some analysts, this attitude of Jesus Christ clearly expressed his rejection of commercial activity and currency transactions and, therefore, implied a criticism of the idea of economic development. We must not forget, on the other hand, that in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus Christ makes a defense of "poorness" through the beatitudes.
2) When the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain was consolidated in the early nineteenth century, a group arose that opposed machines and industry in general, the Luddites. The Luddite movement carried out a series of attacks against factories that substituted mechanization processes for traditional labor.
3) Certain groups consider that progress and economic development go against a happy and authentic life. Among them are the Amish, a Protestant community of German origin who have created communities in the United States and Canada. The Amish live according to the lifestyle of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, leading a very simple life (they do not drive motor vehicles, their clothing maintains the style of their ancestors and they renounce excessive consumerism).
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