Human development is the process by which humans become more effective in meeting their physical, emotional, and social needs. It is a broad topic and requires theories, research methods, and knowledge bases from multiple academic disciplines.
The United Nations measures the level of development in a country by its gross national income per capita, as well as life expectancy, adult literacy rates, and school enrollment. It also takes into account the quality of life in that country, based on a number of indicators that reflect the health and well-being of its citizens.
In this chapter, we will focus on the different ways that people define development, and what this means for the way we measure and report it. We will also explore the challenges that are facing our efforts to improve the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.
The earliest meta-theory of development is the mechanistic meta-theory, which suggests that human development is a product of biology and genetics. It is similar to the mechanistic model used in machines, whereby all changes are controlled by the machine (like a car with its fuel coming from outside).
The most common theory of development is the organi-st theory. It focuses on the role of environment, learning, and experiences in shaping the development of individuals. It is closely related to the constructivist and neo-constructivist theories of Piaget, Werner, and Erikson.
In addition to these main theories of development, there are many other theories based on the same ideas. These include sociobiology, evolutionary, ethological, neurobiology, temperament, and personality theories.