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Opinions of Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Columnist: Acheampong, Bryan

Development & Growth are not the same

To My Hon. Members of Parliament

PLEASE NOTE: DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH ARE NOT THE SAME

A Hon. Alice Teni Boon Member of Parliament was speaking on the motion to thank the President for the State of the Nation Address to Parliament on February 3. She scolded the President heavily for failed development attempts in her constituency. Fellow Members questioned her moral authority to scold the Government for the Lambushie pupils' predicament since her sister succeeded her husband as the District Chief Executive and she was also representing the Constituency for the third time.

Speaking on the same motion, Mr Raymond Tawiah, Member for Yilo Krobo, called for the redefinition of development. He said in the 1960s some third world countries recorded high growth rates of GDP but did not reflect in the lifestyle of their citizens.

The purpose of this piece is to inform the Hon Members of Parliament the difference between Development and Growth as those two words have been bungled together on the floor of the house to reference similar statements.

Growth and Development are not the same. In fact, neither is required for the other. Growth is an increase in size or number. Development is the increase in ability and desire to satisfy one’s own needs and legitimate desire and those of others. A rubbish heap grows but does not develop, and a person can develop without physically getting larger. Growth does not necessarily imply an increase in value; development does. A company can grow without increasing in value, but it cannot develop without increasing its value. Legitimate desire is one for which the satisfaction does not reduce or retard the development of the other. Purposeless objects and systems can grow but cannot develop; only individuals and systems develop.

Development is the increase in capacity and potential, not increase in attainment. It is more a matter of learning than of earning. It has less to do with how much one has than with how much one can do with whatever one has. This connotation is why Robinson Crusoe and the Swiss family are better models of development than. John D. Rockefeller; and why development implies quality of life than standard of living. If we give wealth to underdeveloped people, they are not thereby developed. On the other hand, if we educate them, their development is facilitated even without our adding to their wealth.

Because development consists of both ability and desire, it cannot be given to or imposed on one person or organization by another. A Government cannot develop the Governed or a corporation its employees, even its managers. The only kind of development possible is self development. However, one person or organization can encourage and facilitate the development of others. Therefore the provision or otherwise of roads, water and electricity and other facilities by government is NOT development but rather the provision of services (maybe a function of government)

Standards of living may increase at the cost of quality of life and quality of life may increase without an increase in standard of living- in fact, with a decrease in it. This is not to say that wealth is irrelevant to development or quality of life; it is very relevant. How much people can actually improve their quality of life and that of others depends not only on their capabilities, but also on the resources available to them. One can build a better house with good tools and materials than with poor ones. On the other hand a well developed person can build a better house than a poorly developed person who has the same or even better tools and materials available. The quality of life that people can actually attain is the joint product of their development, and the quality and quantity of resources available to them.

Limited resources may limit growth but not development. The more developed an individual is, the less he or she is limited by available resources. Development is therefore the key to productivity. Society develops or fails to develop depending on the extent to which its political leadership is intelligent, creative, skillful, committed, has the capacity to enlist support, induce loyalty, and to inspire confidence. Not by the bridges and roads they build.



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