The Human Development Index
The Human Development Index ranks the countries of the world in terms of its human development. The Human Development Index implies whether a country is developed, developing or underdeveloped. The Human Development Index sets a standard means of measuring human development and sets levels of options of person for personal achievement. The Human Development Index is published by the United Nations Development Programme and is the centerpiece of the UN’s Human Development Report. The Human Development Index was created as an alternative to the common practice to rank human development solely on a country’s gross domestic product.
First published in 1990 under Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and Indian Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, the goal of the Human Development Report and the Human Development Index was to accurately measure whether people are better off in terms of health, freedom, education and other aspects of life not measured by gross GDP. The originators stated: “People are the real wealth of a nation. The basic objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives. This may appear to be a simple truth. But it is often forgotten in the immediate concern with the accumulation of commodities and financial wealth.”
In order to rank whether a certain country is developed, developing, or underdeveloped, the Human Development Index looks at a number of different factors. The Index measures life expetency, literacy, education, and GDP for countriers worldwide. These variables are then put into a mathematical algoryth which measures the potentioal and real developmenet of any given nation.
The 2008 Report.
The last time the report of the Human Development Index were released in 2009, Iceland, Norway and Canada were considered the three most developed countries in the world. The United States was seen to be the 15th most developed nation, falling three places since the last time the study was conducted. Sierra Lione was considered the least developed nation of the 178 studied. Many nations do not cooperate with the study and are therefore not listed.
The Human Development Index is highly criticized. Many criticize the failure of the index to include any ecological considerations and have lost touch with its original purpose. It is highly criticized for being redundant and adding very little to the development of countries.
Other criticisms include that the Human Development Index does not look at enough factors to truly gage the level of happiness an individual feels in a certain country. Critics claim to measure true happiness the formula must include physical, biological, mental, emotional, social, educational, economic, and cultural components. However, the Human Development Index only looks at life expectancy, adult literacy and education. It leaves our much of the cultural components that make up a society.
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