Describing involuntary poverty as an unmitigated evil persisting in spite of decades of development efforts, Paul Streeten (1994, p. 13) makes a trenchant distinction between development and human development: ‘Yet all too often in the process of development it is the poor who shoulder the heaviest burden. It is development itself that interferes with human development.’ Poor people, women, children, vulnerable groups are the victims of processes of transition; for instance, from subsistence to commercial agriculture, or from traditional to market relationships. There is thus a need to help the victims of transition, to cushion the frictions of social and economic changes on those who would otherwise suffer unduly. This very pithy presentation of human development shows an important shortcoming of present development and aid strategies — its insufficient focus on and help to the poor. The author points out that protecting vulnerable groups is not only fully justified as an end in itself, because the ultimate purpose of development is to promote human well-being, but it also increases the productivity of the poor, and improvements in living conditions result eventually in lower population growth. Human development is thus thrice blessed. Logically, one would therefore expect development co-operation to earmark a certain amount of funds for human development purposes.
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