THOMAS, Vinod. (Coordinador) Paths to development World development report 1991: The challenge of developmet 31-38 8 páginas 1991 Oxford University Press
Paths to development
Economic development is defined in this Report as a sustainable increase in living standards that encompassmaterial consumption, education, health, and environmental protection. Development in a broader sense is understood to include other important and related attributes as well, notably more equality of opportunity, and political freedom and civil liberties. The overall goal of development is therefore to increase the economic, political, and civil rights of all people across gender, ethnic groups,religions, races, regions, and countries. This goal has not changed substantially since the early 1950s, when most of the developing world emerged from colonialism. Thinking on development has undergone a sea change during the past forty years. The change is by no means total, nor is there universal agreement on what it takes for a country to develop. But the early faith in the ability of the state todirect development has given way to a greater reliance on markets. Inward-oriented strategies are more and more being replaced by outward-oriented ones. Discriminatory taxes on agriculture to fund industry are no longer the norm. In recent years many countries have implemented market-oriented reforms. With these changes has come a growing recognition that development is a multidimensional process,within which price reforms, investment, and institutionbuilding are complementary. Success depends on getting many things right. Several countries have achieved rapid development in the postwar period. For the most part, they have two features in common: they invested in the education of men and women and in physical capital; and they achieved high productivity from these investments by givingmarkets, competition, and trade leading roles. New ideas, progress in technology, and pressures to achieve efficiency thus were nourished by their economies. The extent and efficiency of the state's involvement in the economy has been critical. One lesson is that it is better for the state to focus on areas where it complements and supports the private sector (by providing, for example, information,infrastructure, health, research, and education) than on areas where it supplants the private sector (by, for example, producing cement and steel, or running airlines and hotels). A second lesson is that the quality of government matters as much as the quantity. Many economic, sociopolitical, and historical factors play a role in government. History shows that civil and political liberties-goalsin themselves-need not impede economic development. And in achieving several developmental goals, civil and political liberties appear to help. The evolution of approaches to development Economists have traditionally considered an increase in per capita income to be a good proxy for other attributes of development. But the weakness of income growth as an indicator is that it may mask the realchanges in welfare for large parts of the poor population. Improvements in meeting the basic needs for food, education, health care, equality of opportunity, civil liberties, and environmental protection are not captured by statistics on income growth. Policymakers in most developing countries have long recognized that development encompasses more than rapid income growth. They have often 31differed, however, about priorities. India's economnicplans, for example, assumed that income growth by itself would fail to reach many of the poor. Much stress was placed on measures to tackle poverty directly. A different emphasis is seen in Malaysia's policy documents: "For operational purposes, therefore, rapid economic growth of the country is a necessary condition for the success of the New...