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Social change and development

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Country Profiles

Coming soon


World Economic Forum

The GCP's flagship publication is the Global Competitiveness Report (GCR). It is the most comprehensive and authoritative assessment of the comparative strengths and weaknesses of national economies, used by governments, academics and business leaders.

Links to global competitiveness reports

Development Initiatives

South Africa

Research Resources

"Failures to respond to opportunities arising out of a sense of social superiority or social inferiority are expressions of a common principle. People respond to the example of those with whom they identify socially. When there is awareness of a developmental achievement by one belonging to the same social and cultural context, it can evoke a powerful urge for accomplishment in society. When the achievement is by one who lies outside the context, it is often ignored. Thus, the adoption of new crops and cultivation practices by a wealthy farmer may not lead to similar behavior by smaller farmers in the same community. Age, social status, class, caste, wealth, occupation and other factors help define social identity." Comprehensive Theory of Social Development 

ILO and EEC Links

ILO - Employment - Job Creation and Enterprise Development 

Recommendation No. 189 - Job Creation in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

International Instruments Included in the Infobase


Least developed countries

The United Nations has designated 49 countries as least developed: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Yemen and Zambia. Except where otherwise indicated, the totals for least developed countries refer to these 49 countries.

Major economic areas

The classification of countries and territories according to main economic areas used in the UNCTAD Handbook of International Trade and Development Statistics 2001. 1 Countries and territories are classified according to main economic areas as follows:

Developed market economy countries: Australia, Canada, the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom), Faeroe Islands, Gibraltar, Iceland, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland and the United States.

Countries in Eastern Europe: Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovakia and Ukraine.

Developing countries and territories: All other countries, territories and areas in Africa, Asia, America, Europe and Oceania not specified above.

Other country groupings

DAC member countries: The countries members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

OPEC member countries: The countries members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are Algeria, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.


Different perspectives on social change and development

Leaving aside the rhetoric, this series of articles seeks to explore some of the underlying reasons for social development. 

Deepening Democracy in a Fragmented World - United Nations Development Programme

Politics matter for human development. Reducing poverty depends as much on whether poor people have political power as on their opportunities for economic progress. Democracy has proven to be the system of governance most capable of mediating and preventing conflict and of securing and sustaining well-being. By expanding people's choices about how and by whom they are governed, democracy brings principles of participation and accountability to the process of human development.

Download the complete Human Development Report in one big file (2.7MB) or by chapter. The Acrobat Reader is needed from Adobe Systems to view these PDF files. UNDP - Human Development Report 2002 


Foreword, Acknowledgements, Contents (83KB)
Overview (56KB)
Chapter 1 - The state and progress of human development (681KB)
Chapter 2 - Democratic governance for human development (157KB)
Chapter 3 - Deepening democracy by tackling democratic deficits (172KB)
Chapter 4 - Democratizing security to prevent conflict and build peace (135KB)
Chapter 5 - Deepening democracy at the global level (393KB)
Notes and Bibliography (100KB)
Human Development Indicators (539KB)
Calculating Human Development Indices (939KB)

Perspectives on Social Development

Development is a function of society’s capacity to organize human energies and productive resources to respond to opportunities and challenges. The paper traces the emergence of higher, more complex, more productive levels of social organization through the stages of nomadic hunting, rural agrarian, urban, commercial, industrial and post-industrial societies. It examines the process by which new activities are introduced by pioneers, imitated, resisted, accepted, organized, institutionalized and assimilated into the culture. Why does a society develop the way it does? by Gene Shackman, Ya-Lin Liu and George (Xun) Wang

"Why does a society develop the way it does?" by Gene Shackman, Ya-Lin Liu and George (Xun) Wang" and "Summary of theories of change" is now at

Also see reports on global change at http://gsociology.icaap.org/reports.html

Comprehensive Theory of Social Development

"Democracy raises human aspirations. It encourages individuals to take active initiative for their own advancement. It facilitates freer and wider social interactions. It releases greater social energy. It vastly increases the dissemination of information and the multiplication of new organizations. As the transition from monarchy to democracy was a catalyst for rapid economic advancement of Western countries over the past three centuries, the spread of democratic institutions today opens up greater possibilities for global expansion. Development theory needs to explain the dynamics of the process by which political and social conditions impact economic performance."


From rhetoric to reality of African development: Unctad calls for major policy shift

Declining aid and terms of trade, mounting debt, and ineffective adjustment policies have left sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) poorer than two decades ago. Bolstering growth and halving poverty in Africa over the next 15 years will require a dramatic increase in aid and trade for the continent, says a new UNCTAD report, released today.

With a projected growth rate of just over 3% for the next decade, Africa's fortunes are unlikely to improve. This figure, marginally above population growth, is only half the 6% target set by the United Nations 10 years ago to tackle the economic and social challenges of the continent.

The UNCTAD report, entitled Economic Development in Africa: Performance, Prospects and Policy Issues (UNCTAD/GDS/AFRICA/1), sketches the main policy measures required to reverse this situation. These include:

  • Financing development through a doubling of aid flows; a bolder approach to debt relief, including a standstill on debt repayment; and an independent assessment of debt sustainability;

  • Conducting a full review of all current agreements and practices in the international trading system in order to remove any impediments to growth and development in Africa and to enhance Africa's exports; and

  • Undertaking a critical review of adjustment and poverty reduction policies for raising growth and bettering income distribution.

[PDF, 73 pp. 159Kb]

UNCTAD - The least developed Countries report 2002.
Full report (free of charge until 18 July 2002) Full report [Pdf, 3.7MB]
Part One
Chapter 1 (Pdf, 584KB), Chapter 2 (Pdf, 616KB)
Part Two
Chapter 1 (Pdf, 770KB), Chapter 2 (Pdf, 697KB), Chapter 3 (Pdf, 573KB), Chapter 4 (Pdf, 715KB), Chapter 5 (Pdf, 574KB), Chapter 6 (Pdf, 537KB), Statistical Annex (Pdf, 914KB)

Social Change

"Why does a society develop the way it does? by Gene Shackman, Ya-Lin Liu and George (Xun) Wang" and "Summary of theories of change" is now at

Also see reports on global change at http://gsociology.icaap.org/reports.html

Gene Shackman web site on Social, Economic and Political Change addressing: The basic question of interest is "Why does society develop the way that it does?"  How did the various political systems develop, how do different customs and social systems come about.  Some specific topics include: what is globalization and how is it happening, why did industrialization first occur in Europe, how far will democratization spread and in what forms.

  • Summary of theories of change
  • Theory  Links to approaches and theories or reviews of theories of change
  • Data  The process of change depends on demographics, political and economic structures, among other factors.
  • Research   about social change, economic growth, related topics.
  • National Profiles
  • History   These sites present more detailed history, of countries, regions, the world, or links to more detailed history, or lists of good history books and articles.

Special Research Websites

International Centre for Peace and Development

United Nations

Other perspectives - The Third Way 

The much talked about, but rarely defined "The Third Way"

Global Policy Forum - Social and Economic Policy

Articles of Interest

To conduct your own search for relevant articles, please go to:- World Bank - Documents & Reports - An excellent web resource

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