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/ Dudley Seers ‘The Meaning of Development’

Dudley Seers, first Director of IDS, argued that “the focus on national income as a target for achieving poverty reduction avoided the real problems of development” and recommended “redefining how development was measured”. In this paper, he offered policy recommendations to incorporate more socially-relevant measures to better address development problems, focusing on education, population growth, and political independence. Seers argued “that there is no real ‘development’ when the benefits of technology and progress helped only a small number of people in the developed world, who are already relatively rich.” Furthermore, “if governments become more interested in social measurements then statistics offices would produce more appropriate information” Apparently, the Indian Government had already tried to incorporate such measures in its National Household Survey of 1962. (ID21)



Seers, D. (1967) The Meaning of Development, IDS Communication 44, Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.

ID21, ‘Classic Highlights: The Meaning of Development’ http://www.id21.org/classics/Seers.html

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