The Human Development Determined by both Needs And Values

By Harli Muin

The development is making a better life for most people is not easily to figure out. By using   poverty and inequality measurement, development such as Human development Index; GINI coefficient, and basic need, we can measure the development by those instruments, but those are still remained to be seen a debate.  This raises a question whether  the  human development be determined by needs or values? What are the costs of each approach? Human development index, as an example UNDP 1990 measurement, has widely used to measure development.  Alkira (2010) stated that  HDI  has  a real wealth of a nation. The basic objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to live long, healthy, and creative lives.[1]  From this aspect, we can determine the development that should be determined by both, the need and value.

Human Development as a Value is can been seen as a process and not a goat itself. Fukuda defined that human development as the process of enlarging people’s choices is dealing with the human freedom and capability.[2] Amartya Sen (1996) defined the development is not only limited to a monetary value, but also to a non-material value. He provided  several example such as freedom and participation.[3]  Those this are not monetary value.  In this context, the value associates with this context that is participation where all citizens determine what is the goal of development, and what kind of development they need. Citizens may also opt not to participation.


Development can be classified as a monetary value because people need in order to fill their basic needs as a  part of the foundation human rights. In this circumstance, the development practitioners ignore the participation of citizen because they want to people getting material first as urgently needed.  UNDP uses basic need for it development respond such as emergency respond; In emergency intervention, for instance, famine hit a small-isolated village in West Papua 1999(West Papua Island, part of the Indonesia’s territory), UNPD intervened in that area base on their assessment, and then UNDP delivered humanitarian aids based on the people need.  NGO sometime uses basic need to respond people victim of violence.


Building basic needs are not enough to supporting human welfare such as provided food, health, education, and energy. It needs to develop the human value. Human rights as on of the human value are participation and freedom. Particularly empowered the democratic governance, gender equality, civil and political rights, and cultural liberty are human right value and those are part of the development value as well.


In this context, human development and human rights have strongly correlated and shared a common vision.   Base on the idea, Amartya Sen (2009) stated that freedom is vital, and people must be free to exercise their choice and to participate in decision-making process that can affect their lives.[4] Moreover, Martha Nussbaum (2000) stated that human capability is the account of the human development so that Women and Human Development does not offer a distinct account of human development; she draws on the capabilities approach.[5]


Overall, we can say that human development, either determined by needs or values, must go together. If they are separated, human developments are the failure to reach its goals.  By mixing basic needs and values, portraying the freedom from want and freedom from wants are vey helpful to measure development as mentioned as the human right charter.****




[1] Alkire, Sabina. 2010.  Human Development research paper 2010

Human Development: and related concepts. Oxford department of international development, Queen Elizabeth house, University of Oxford.

[2] Fukuda-Parr, Sakiko, 2003. The human development paradigm:

Operationalizing Sen’s ideas on capabilities. Published by Feminist Economics number 9 (2 – 3), 2003, 301 – 317

[3] Sen, Amartya. (2000). Development as Freedom (Kindle of 1st ed.). New York: Anchor

Books, A Devision of Random House

[4] Sen, Amartya, 2009.  The idea of justice, Harvard University Press.

[5] Nussbaum, Martha, 2000. In defense of universal values in her women and human development, Cambridge, University Press, United Kingdom.



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