Promoting Economic Development through Politics, Government, Technology and Education

By Smith, Denny | The Catalyst, Winter 2002 | Go to article overview

Promoting Economic Development through Politics, Government, Technology and Education


Smith, Denny, The Catalyst


Introduction

Economic Development is a process affecting different areas of society: politics, government, technology and education. Politicians play an important role in determining what type of development occurs within a given community. E-government helps communities become more efficient and produce better work opportunities for the citizens it serves. Technology and education are links to supporting better economic growth.

Literature Review

To understand the effects of Economic Development on politics, government, technology and education one must first understand the meaning of development. What duties do economic developers perform? The answer to that question can be difficult to understand by those with limited prior economic development education. The Oxford English Dictionary defines development as "the process or fact of developing; the concrete result of this process." (Oxford English Dictionary 15th ed.). Other Oxford definitions include a "gradual unfolding, a bringing into fuller view; a fuller disclosure or working out of the details of anything, as a plan, a scheme, the plot of a novel." Some in the Economic Development community define development as the process of improving the quality of all human lives. There are three equally important aspects of development in this definition: (1) raising people's living levels- their income and consumption levels of food, medical services and education through economic growth processes; (2) creating conditions conducive to the growth of people's self-esteem through the establishment of social, political, and economic systems and institutions that promote human dignity and respect; and (3) increasing people's freedom by enlarging the range of their choice of variables, such as increasing varieties of consumer goods and services. (Torero, 2000).

Development definitions continue to change over time with society and with underdeveloped nations. After 1950, with colonialism dismantled, economic development was supposed to benefit the less-developed countries. Public and Private sector activities were designed to increase investments that would industrialize and modernize the economies of these countries. Economic Development is defined by some as increasing per capita income and gross domestic product. Neoclassical growth and trade theories are consistent with this definition. By the end of the 1960's, economic growth rates were disappointing in some countries and impressive in others. Therefore, Dudley Seers (1969) posed a new definition. He argued that economic development must create jobs, reduce absolute poverty, and increase income equality. Seer's definition justified initiatives aimed at encouraging rural development, which became the dominant international strategy during the 1970's. Broader institutional theories, which focused on the structure of economies in less-developed countries, became associated with Seer's definition.

Economic Development can be defined in different ways to different people. One definition is a set of planned actions designed to attract new business and industry. As a result, the economic base and standard of living will be positively changed. (Idaho Department of Commerce 1987).

Rural communities are often limited in resources for economic development. " In today's business environment we need to manage change. The successful management of change depends on the amount of risk managers are willing to take and the trust they have in the organization." (McManis ix Leibman, 1988)

Development practices in the United States accept economic growth as a positive force and attempts to facilitate the growth process. In 1990, the American Economic Development Council, one of two major professional associations representing U.S. economic developers, commissioned a report from the profession entitled "Economic Development Tomorrow" (AEDC 1991). A Delphi process involving the professions leadership, as well as other experts, accepted the definition presented in a similar report:

Economic Development is the process of creating wealth through the mobilization of human, financial, capital, physical and mural resources to generate marketable goods and services. …

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