What is a developing country? How does one know whether a country is actually developing or not? This book looks at this issue from several perspectives. Using a series of reports by various organizations, it shows how countries rank in their levels of development according to different criteria. Countries ranking high according to one measure may rank lower according to another. It was once commonly believed that raising a country’s average per capita income level would lead to improvements in most other areas. Time and experience have shown, however, that social conditions and general well-being of people may not necessarily improve when a country’s average income level increases. Countries with high levels of per capita income may rank lower in their social and structural development. By contrast, some poor countries rank with the advanced countries in their governance an levels of individual and economic freedom.
This book examines four criteria which are often used today to rank and assess countries’ levels of development. They are: (1) per capita income; (2) economic and social structure; (3) social conditions; and (4) the prevailing level of economic and political freedom. Specific indices or quantitative studies are explained and applied to each criteria and differences among the various measures are explained.