New Directions in Development Thinking

The principal goal of development policy is to create sustainable improvements in the quality of life for all people. While raising per capita incomes and consumption is part of that goal, other objectives – reducing poverty, expanding access to health services, and increasing educational levels – are also important. Meeting these goals requires a comprehensive approach to development. The last half-century has been marked by a mix of pessimism and optimism about prospects for development. The Green Revolution held out the prospect of overcoming the Malthusian threat, and countries like India succeeded in achieving food security. But the world's burgeoning population, combined with relatively slow growth in the productivity of food grains in the 1990s, is once again raising fears of food shortages. Some development approaches, such as Brazil's import-substitution policies, appeared to work for a while but then failed. The more recent downturn in the most remarkable economic success story of all – East Asia – has raised new questions about development policies, as has the slow response to market reforms shown by the economies in transition. Yet a consensus is emerging on the elements of future development policy.

New Directions in Development Thinking’, TheWorldBankWorld Development Report 1999/2000-Entering the 21st Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 13–28. Reproduced with permission of World Bank; permission conveyed through Copyright Clearance Center, Inc.
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