An Introduction to Economic and Social Development
In the academic study of the social economy, social and economic development is the process through which a country, community, local neighborhood, or an individuals economic well being and quality of life are improved as a result of identifying desired outcomes and targets, setting up incentives to achieve these aims and targets, and monitoring and measuring progress toward these aims and targets. The basic concept of development relates to creating a society in which people have access to economic resources that allow them to be economically and socially well off. These resources include human capital and knowledge. It also includes physical assets such as infrastructure, land, water, energy, natural resources, and the means of communication such as roads, telecommunications, and electricity.
Developing a country, neighborhood, town, village, or community requires a number of things including: resources, information, institutions, people, and policies. The resources refer to the material resources such as energy, water, land, and human capital. The information refers to an educated population and a market that allows goods and services to be purchased and services to be supplied. The institutions include colleges, universities, and other forms of higher learning as well as the policies that determine how resources and information are used and allocated.
Economic and social development focuses on long term development. A country, neighborhood, or community may improve its overall living conditions for an extended period of time; however, an individual may only enjoy prosperity during a short period of time. The period of time during which an individual will enjoy prosperity depends largely on their individual choices. Societies with a long-term interest in economic growth and prosperity typically develop the policies that create economic growth and prosperity. This can take the form of having laws and regulations that protect human rights, limits the damage of environmental pollution, creates affordable and accessible housing, provides educational opportunities, promotes business opportunities, and promotes a healthy lifestyle for the entire population.