Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DEVELOPMENT: A PEACE-BASE APPROACH

It isn't the experience of today that drives men mad. It is the remorse for something that happened yesterday, and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.
- Robert Jones Burdette
“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.


The various definitions of development have always emphasis a situation of positive wellbeing of the individual, group or society. For instance, Gunner Myrdal explains development as the “upward movement of the entire social systems”. Everett M. Rogers also define development as “a type of social change in which new ideas are introduced into a special system in order to produce higher per capita incomes and levels of living through more modern production methods and improved social organization”. All these definitions imply a state or an end state of positivity that influences the wellbeing of mankind and the achievement of which is development. Secondly, these definitions imply that wellbeing is subjected to an individual’s, group’s or society’s understanding of wellbeing.

Interestingly, relativity is influenced by experience overtime and what is considered appropriate is subjected to the attributes of society that have shaped people’s understanding of life and wellbeing. In this sense, development is a state of mind. To Riggs (1970), development is a state of mind, a tendency, a direction but rather than a fixed goal it is rate of change in a particular direction; which is certainly positive. Accordingly, researches have consolidated these interesting observations with theories evolving to underpin the thinking of what development is and the factors that influence a state of development from the individual to the societal level. Modernisation Theory, Basic Needs Approach, Growth with Distribution, Right Based Approach, Integrated Development, etc. are examples of theories of development. The consequences of all these approaches are to ensure a society free from poverty; a negative phenomenon of deteriorating human wellbeing and welfare manifesting in low in income levels and inadequate employment opportunities, poor access to social services including education, health, water and sanitation, housing and energy sources. All these problems increase the concerns of man when it comes to his survival abilities and capabilities.