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  1. 1

    First things first: meeting basic human needs in the developing countries.

    Streeten P; Burki SJ; Ul Haq M; Hicks N; Stewart F

    New York, Oxford Univ. Press, 1981. 206 p.

    This volume presents an approach that enables the poor to earn or obtain their "basic needs." Early in 1978 a World Bank work program was launched to study the operational implications of meeting basic needs within a short period, for example 1 generation, as a principal objective of national development efforts. An attempt is made in this book to distill some of the results of that work. The objective of meeting basic needs brings to a development strategy a heightened concern with the satisfaction of some elementary needs of the whole population, particularly in education and health. The explicit adoption of this objective helps gear production, investment, income, and employment policies to meet the needs of the poor in a cost effective manner and within a specific time frame. The emphasis on making the poor more productive has remained an important component of the basic needs approach. Its distinct contribution consists in deepening the income measure of poverty by adding physical estimates of the particular goods and services required to realize certain results, such as adequate standards of nutrition, health, shelter, water and sanitation, education, and other essentials. Thus, the basic needs approach represents a stage in the evolution of analysis and policy. The country and sector studies conducted by the World Bank made important contributions to the formulation of such a program. The country studies in particular provided special insights into the problems of poverty and the dimensions of deprivation in each country emerged from them. The complex question of whether a conflict exists between basic needs and growth has not been conclusively answered. What appeared clear is that better education, nutrition, and health are beneficial in reducing fertility, raising labor and productivity, enhancing people's adaptability and capacity for change, and creating a political environment for stable development. The more pressing basic needs can be met successfully even at quite low levels of income per head, without sacrificing economic growth. The country studies showed that even in the short-term there is considerable scope for improving basic needs performance by the better management of resources. It is evident that the redirection of policies toward meeting basic needs often requires major changes in the power balance in a society. The most important aspect of the World Bank's basic needs work program was the sector studies, which helped identify several operational policy issues.
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  2. 2

    Investing in people: the economics of population quality.

    Schultz TW

    Berkeley, Calif./London, England, University of California Press, 1981. xii, 173 p. (In series: Royer Lectures)

    This work, intended for a general as well as professional audience, argues that the acquired abilities of people including education, experience, skills, and health, are basic in achieving economic progress in the developing world. The 1st section examines the phenomenon of poverty in the developing world and stresses the contributions of human capital to productivity and human welfare in the lower income countries. Possible investments in human quality are surveyed, and theoretical and empirical observations concerning education and health are presented. A separate chapter assesses the role of higher education in developing countries, arguing that although governments in many countries impair the role of higher education, achievements have been substantial in a number of them. The next section examined economic consequences of the increases in the value of time that occur with development. A discussion of methodological and conceptual difficulties in measuring the value of time is included. The final section analyzes some serious economic distortions that result from government policies in developed as well as developing countries and that prevent the potential economic productivity of the poor from being realized. Distortions in the school systems of large cities, in allocation of funds for research, and in various aspects of life in developing countries that are affected by the international donor community are examined. Some implications of the findings are suggested in a brief concluding chapter.
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