2b) Development is a system of interrelated social change

Development is a process resulting from the integraton of a number of elements, especially

  • goals based on existing values,
  • resources, natural as well as human,
  • available technology,
  • forms of socio-political organization.

These elements and their components are integrated in a system in which the elements-are closely interrelated, i.e., if one element changes, the whole system changes.

We can illustrate this by an example from the agricultural sector: if we want to-increase productivity in agriculture, the change is not brought about by the mere-application of new seeds and fertilizer.

The implementation of a new technology may require new forms of social organization such as the grouping of peasants in peasant's associations to allow the distribution of inputs, and instructions as to their applicatin.

The continuous training efforts may affect peasant values, and, subsequently, goals. If our plan is successful, peasants may change their cropping patterns in favour of crops which proved more profitable. This has effects on other parts of the farm, and may, for instance, cause a reduction of animal husbandry. If the proceeds of animal husbandry belong traditionally to the women, as in some societies, this affects the internal relations of the family. We may, however, come to the conclusion that the new technology cannot be applied without a change in the land tenure system. A change in land tenure affects in turn the power structure and may change the goal-setters in the society and, thus, the relevant goals. This example could be elaborated further. It all results in the recognition that the system approach reflects most closely the development process, and projects and programmes aiming at one isolated element of the system are dysfunctional. It is true that it often is very difficult to quantify the influence of individual elements. This, however, must not prevent from understanding development as a system of interrelated changes which requires integrated instead of isolated measures.