What is “development”?
April 19, 2010
Jonathan B. Wight
A student of mine is finishing up her Honors Thesis on substantive measures of development. One measure she examines is cell phone ownership as a proxy for infrastructure. One can argue that in a rural areas without land lines, access to cell phones enables one to live a life of greater affiliation and connectedness to those you love (e.g., many husbands migrate and may return only once a year). Having the capability of communicating with loved ones can be considered an important aspect of human development. What do you readers think?
Amartya Sen writes provocatively about substantive measures and his book, Development as Freedom (1999) offers great insights.
But Paul Krugman’s quote still captures the issue most succinctly:
“Feudalism with cell phones is still feudalism.”
Anyone want to share other pithy quotes on this subject?
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