Development And Nation Building: Meaning, Principles And Effects Of Development

Table Of Contents

  • The Meaning Of Development
  • Principles Of Development
  • Dimensions Of National Development
  • Effects Of Development On Society
  • Nation Building

The Meaning Of Development
The term development sociologically has been defined from various angles by different scholars depending on the indices that ought to be considered. Development can be defined in terms of improvement in socio-political cum economic well-being of the people and the society in general. There is no generally acceptable definition of development. It can be looked at socially, economically, politically etc.. It can be viewed in terms of improvement in capital cum technological know how of the society.
Futhermore, scholars of developmental studies have seen that development and underdevelopment are two sides of the same coin. It implies that what makes for development in one society gives room for underdevelopment in the other.
Development can be viewed as a multi-dimensional process involving the reduction or eradication of inequality, absolute poverty, unemployment, slavery or aparthied as well as institutional changes and economic growth.
Another scholar stated that development is a sustained change along a trajectory leading to growth. This indicates that understanding development goes beyond the confines of economics. It includes more than the materials and financial well being of people. It is also concerned about the social aspects of people’s lives. It should be therefore be conceived as a multifaceted process encompassing the organization and redirection of the entire economic, political, and social system, embodying radical changes in administrative, institutional and social structures, popular attitudes and sometimes custom and beliefs. He opines that development begins from a national/local standpoint, that is from the rural community at the bottom of the social ladder to the urban centres viewed at the top, but has multifarious ramifications necessitating fundamental modifications of the national and international economic, political and socio-cultural systems.
Principles Of Development
There are numerous principles associated with development, which are:
1. Development is continuous and on-going but does not proceed uniformly or equally. This indicates that development continues to be observed by the society or country through different forms and dimensions. It does not operate on equilibrium.
2. It does not always move forward. It often regresses backward. This also implies that development is mutli dimensional. It moves on different facets and on various angles. It is never a one way process.
3. All aspects of development interrelate. This means that improvement or change in one area of life may directly or indirectly affect the other or the entire system. For instance, the improvement of the educational institution can greatly influence the economy, politics and culture of the people.
4. Development occurs at different rates. The rates are not uniform. In most times it is high or low. Infact it fluctuates. One place may develop more than the other. In most times, the rate of the countries concentration. One country may be more advanced than the other politically while the other as well may be more advanced economically or culturally. These principles of development therefore brings to light different dimensions of development.
Dimensions Of National Development
There are different dimensions in which a country can experience development. Some of these aspects are the economy, politics, religion, technological, cultural etc. These, will be discussed as follows:
1. Economic Development
The economic development entails the rapid improvement and growth of a country’s economic sector. This sector brings about the improvement in the standard of living of the people. The areas of economic advancement of a country include improvement in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, efficient production and distribution of goods and services etc.
2. Political Development
This entails the political development of the country. Political development can be viewd as the process of change in the political structure, functions, institutional performance, values, norms and attitudes of the people. It is also concern with the increase in the capacity and efficiency of political structures in the performance of their functions, an increase in the effectiveness of conflict resolution, and tension management, and great increase in the participation of the people in the political process.
3. Religious Development
This means the contribution of religious institution to the development of Nigeria. Religion plays greater role towards the reshaping of man in the society. Man also exhibits religious traits in all aspects of his behaviour. The presence of man and many other complex events that befell man, made it possible for man to seek supernatural explanations in most of those occurrences. This makes man owes allegiance to divinities and dieties or other beings which he regards as supernatural.
However, religious organizations have greatly contributed positively towards national development. The African traditional religion in our pre literate societies guided our behavioural patterns. It brought solidarity, communal living and peaceful coexistence of people in the society. It brought greater level of decorum to societal existence.
The missionaries also improved the standard of living and general welfare of the people through the provision of infrastructures such as schools, health centres, few roads etc. All these in no small measure contributed greatly to the development of the society.
4. Social Development
Social development refers to an advancement in the provision of social amenities and infrastructure which enhance the quality of life of the people. It involves the provision of water supply, electricity, good roads, markets, educational institutions, rail ways, libraries, recreational centres etc.
There is greater presence of these infrastructures nowadays than before. Some decades ago, there were lack of necessary amenities which retarted development. The people and government have risen up to their challenges through the provision of these amenities.
Furthermore, the government has also made significant contributions in this area of social development. This is through the provision of some social programmes aimed at alleviating the social condition of the people.
5. Technological Development
There is tremendous change in science and technology nowadays compared to what happened some decades back. The country has witnessed great development in technological innovations. In terms of technological development, we simply mean the advancement and change in technological innovations in our society.
Every society today is at the verge of technological advancement which brought breakthrough in nuch spheres of human endeavour.
Effects Of Development On Society
Development has important effects on the society. The effect of development may be seen as either positive or negative. This means that it should be desirable or undesirable depending on certain indices of analysis. We shall look at both sides of the same coin which will come under positive effects and negative effects of development.
1. Positive Effects Of Development On Society
It has been observed that development has contributed greatly to the growth of the society. It has strongly impacted in the peoples standard of living, improved working condition, empkoyer employee relationship and good communication networks etc.
The living condition of the people is enhanced through the provision of essential service and better employment opportunities. This is made possible through the provision of good roads, electricity, hospitals, pipe-borne water, good refuge disposals, modern hospital equipments, vocational centres, schools etc.
Modern communication network facilities have positively revolutionized the society. Development has made it possible for the formal vast world to be very small in terms of very quick and easy communication among all countries of the modern world.
Nevertheless, development has really brought great improvement in the industrial and medical terrains of the society. The manufacturing of large industrial machines have greatly paved way for large and extensive production and exportation of goods produced in the country. Also, modern medical technology has made it possible to improve and save the lives of millions of peopple world over. Our modern societies have recorded more scientific cum medical breakthrough. All these are positive effects of development in our society.
2. Negative Effects Of Development On Society
Some observers argue that development is always a traumatic experience for humans. Development always overwhelm the individual’s capacity for adaptation. This most cases result to psychological distress.
In as much as development has strengthened the growth of our society, it has also adversely impacted on it. For instance, technology which serves us good purposes has been allowed to dominate our lives and also pushes many of us away or out of employment. It is quite clear that industrial revolution of the eighteenth (18th) century made the substitution of manual labour with industrial machine necessary. It brought loss of job by the people.
Furthermore, the improvement in information system through much technological advancement has contributed greatly to the high rate of crime in our societies. People now commit more crime with computers and other communication gadgets thereby keeping the society in a precarious conditions. Technological advancement has also created much negative effects on the society. Armed robbery is highly enhanced through the availability of sophisticated guns and other weapons. Also man through technological innovations has invented weapons of mass destruction. The prevalence of war in many countries in the world is as a result of the invention of nuclear weapons. The new technique in warfare has often led to more mass death in our society.
Nation Building
Nation building entails the strategy towards the development of the nation. Nation building is viewed from different perspectives by different scholars.
Nation building is a multi-facet complex process of building the socio-political and economic pre-conditions of a political society that would be instrumental to the polity’s continued independent sustenance, development and growth. Note that there are strategies of achieving nation building in Nigeria, which includes; the constitution, ideology, religion, militant revolution, social revolution, political and administrative organs and instruments together with educational institutions.
Irrespective of all these strategies towards achieving effective nation building, there are still some problems associated with it and they are the problem of power sharing and equitable representation, problem of leadership, value orientation, political instability, sycophancy, traditional ethnic consciousness, mass illiteracy and weak educational system.