From centrally planned development to human development
AbstractThis paper examines the links between human development concept and the attempt to implement the communist project in the countries of the former socialist bloc. It argues that the human development performance of the socialist system, despite its beneficial outcome for the ‘working masses’, had little in common with actual human development. It met basic needs in education, health, and living standards. Under the socialist system development approaches were missing two major components of human development – freedom and agency. In this sense an emerging sense of agency in societies in the region is the major transformation outcome. The departure from centrally planned and state-dominated model of development was painful, expensive and took long time. In some countries it is still in process with uneven progress and moments of reverse. But the overall trend is clear and policies that encourage people someone to take responsibility, act and bring about change for improving their own welfare are the best long-term investment in human development opportunities. Still, major questions remain unanswered. The first is to what extent the current – market-based, consumer demand oriented – system is capable of going beyond those basic needs and combine economic growth with other human development dimensions? Has it already gone into the opposite extreme to that of the former communist utopia attempt – subordinating human development to consumer demand driven consumption? Answering these questions goes beyond the scope of the current paper but the socialist countries’ experience could perhaps provide some insights for the answers.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its series Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) with number HDRP-2010-38.
Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as background research for the 2010 Human Development Report.
human development; basic needs; Europe; Central Europe; Eastern Europe; Central Asia; USSR; CIS; transitional economies; freedom; agency.;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty
- N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
- O15 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
- O52 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
- P20 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-11-13 (All new papers)
- NEP-CWA-2010-11-13 (Central & Western Asia)
- NEP-HRM-2010-11-13 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
- NEP-TRA-2010-11-13 (Transition Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Pedro Conceicao & Namsuk Kim & Ronald Mendoza & Yanchun Zhang, 2009. "Human Development in Crisis," Working papers 0903, UNICEF,Division of Policy and Strategy.
- Michael Lokshin & Martin Ravallion, 2000. "Welfare Impacts of the 1998 Financial Crisis in Russia and the Response of the Public Safety Net," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 8(2), pages 269-295, July.
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