International development

From Academic Kids

The goal of international development is to alleviate poverty among citizens of developing countries. International development is a multidisciplinary field that may impact poverty reduction, governance, healthcare, education, crisis prevention and recovery, and economic restructuring.

International development is distinct from disaster relief or humanitarian aid. The latter is a response to a specific crisis that generally involves temporary manpower or donations. Development, on the other hand, is intended as a long-term solution to a set of problems or situations. It may incorporate a single tranformative project or a series of projects targeted at several aspects of society in the developing nation.

One illustration of the spirit of international development comes from a speech by Harry S. Truman in 1949:

"We must embark on a bold new program from making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas. The old imperialism - exploitation for foreign profit - has no place in our plans. What we envision is a program of development based on the concepts of democratic fair dealing."

International development is looked up on by some, especially conservative thinkers, as an obligation of developed countries towards developing countries as a way to alleviate the economic inequalities.

Global Agencies Engaged in International Development

Methods and Concerns

During recent decades, development thinking has shifted from modernization and structural adjustment programs to poverty reduction. Under the former system, poor countries were encouraged to undergo social and economical structural transformations as part of their development, creating industrialization and intentional industrial policy. Poverty reduction rejects this notion, consisting instead of direct budget support for social welfare programs that create macroeconomic stability, leading to an increase in economic growth.

However, even the terms "developed" and "developing" (or "underdeveloped"), have proven problematic in forming policy as they ignore issues of wealth distribution and the lingering effects of colonialism. Some theorists see development efforts as fundamentally neo-colonial, in which a wealthier nation forces its industrial and economic structure on a poorer nation, which will then become a consumer of the developed nation's goods and services. Post-developmentalists, for example, see development as a form of Western cultural imperialism that hurts the people of poor countries and endangers the environment to such an extent that they suggest rejection of development altogether.

See also



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