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Determinants of Development

(41)  Natural resources and scientific discoveries are only instruments and not causes of development.

Development of a country is aided by countless causes, some strongly and others in a small measure. To see one of the causes and take one of the results and put them together as if one is the cause and the other is effect, may not be a right argument. Before dealing with this issue specifically let us consider the role of natural resources in the development of a country.

  • We see states with 10" rainfall doing well in agriculture.
  • There are countries with 80" average rainfall frequently having famine.
  • It does show that there is one more powerfully intervening factor.
  • There are countries with meager natural resources which they have to import, are industrialised.
  • A country with 120" rainfall imports half of its food requirements.
  • Another country with 25" rainfall excels in agriculture production and is the number one country in export of flowers.
  • Though it is apparently true that abundance of iron ore leads to steel production, it is certain that there are other important determinants in the result. They are,

- Available technology.

- Country's readiness to produce.

- Level of skill available in the labour force.

- Social determination to utilise a resource for a direct result.

- The political climate.

- The combined picture of circumstances.

Then if the totality of circumstances will decide the result or a particular result, what determines that totality of circumstances?

We will be right when we say that it is determined by the combined situations of the internal and external circumstances of that particular country.

  • Even if it is so, there is the question "Does not the determination of the people count?"
  • After the World War ,Western Europe availed of the Marshall Plan and revived but USSR refused and therefore became a superpower. Don't we see here the role of the determination of the people?
  • In the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s it was a non-stop cry that population by its growth was undoing the existence of nations. Suddenly now that cry stopped and we hear that population is strength.
  • So, can we say 1) The will of the people determine, or 2) The study of the population is a determinant?

These are partial questions and if rightly answered, they will still be partial answers.

  • To pronounce on a QUESTION like this, one must approach the subject of Social Development scientifically and see whether it is the same in all countries, in all periods, in all types of societies. If they are or if they are not, one has to discover the LAWS of social development common to all countries, all periods, all societies and in that light make their partial pronouncements.

(29)    At the point of transition from external determinism to self-determination, social evolution passes from subconscious to conscious status.

In the life of a nation or a community or an individual we witness several phases and several sudden or gradual changes.

    • The Asian countries which were having their own religion accepted Buddhism when it came from India thus markedly changing their pattern of life.
    • People in North India whose lives were peaceful suddenly on the announcement of the Partition of the country have to recast their ways of life.
    • An earthquake does it.
    • Young men pursuing various careers are suddenly called to war service which drastically changes their way of thinking and living.
    • New-fangled ideas invading a country that spreads the idea of divorce disturbs many peaceful homes and consequently the life of the nation.
    • Christianity changed the European nations.
    • Protestantism did so.
    • Emigration to America changes the labour relations in the local situation.
    • Vast growing immigration constantly creates new situations in the life of USA.
    • Changing technology shifts the work from the office to the house.
    • Arrival of free email changes one's attitude to communication.
    • Mobile phones spreading make life easy and create the possibility of new business.
    • Changing fashions in India threaten the existence of handloom weavers.
    • There are changes of several types and each affect the life of a nation. There are as many changes in life as there are aspects of life.

- Whether some aspect will change or nor it is not predictable.

- When things suddenly change prophets declare "one thing is certain.

- It is change."

- There is the phenomenon of corruption.

- A way of life vastly changes but certain things such as poverty, honesty of the people, etc. remain unchanged.

  • It is true that external conditions determine the development.
  • It is equally true that internal conditions are determinative.
  • It may be more correct to say that their combination is the determinant.

The external changes are allowed as long as the inner awakening is not there. Once the inner awakening comes, the externals are swept away and the inner condition prevails.

The point of transition from the external determinism to the inner determinism is, our statement says, a point when the subconscious progress changes into a conscious process.

(28)   Geographical climate, historical past, natural resources appear to be the determinants in the beginning till it is discovered  that it is its own determinant.

The European countries are cold. One has to work harder there to produce. Here in the tropics, there is sun all the year round. There sun is not seen for three or four months. Therefore one has to produce food in nine months for 12 months. He has to develop greater efficiency than the man in the tropics. Also for the winter months he needs coal or wood. That too he must procure.

  • Obviously the external conditions compel man to be efficient.
  • There is certainly a truth in it, but it is not all.

If this is the only truth, those in Siberia must be most efficient which is not the case.

  • Singapore which is close to the equator has equalled the prosperity of USA and excelled it in one year. This needs an explanation.

The vast natural resources of USA have made her rich is a very valid argument. But Russia has vaster natural resources. She is only a middle income country. The Arab countries have enormous oil resources. They are not fully developed. That too needs an explanation.

When there is a cause and an effect, it is natural for us to see a relation. It may be there or may not be there. In an argument we must be able to relate the effect to the cause through the process, and show it is inevitable. A man has lost his election because he is a poor speaker. Another has won the election as he had plenty of money. Both may be partially true, need not necessarily be the precise, exact, compelling cause. We must build arguments to show that each cause we cite invariably led to the result. Otherwise the argument will be inconclusive. A boy stood first in the exam because he is intelligent, hard working, there are no bright boys in his class, the questions he expected appeared in the exams, etc. etc. All these are, each in its own right, valid reasons, but not the reason for his getting the result. If we say he was determined to get the first rank, that too will be a partial argument. But if we show he was determined to win the prize and

  • He fulfilled the conditions of that determination more than others, that will be a clinching argument.
  • Then, anyone who is determined to achieve and fulfils the conditions of that determination does achieve it.
  • One who enters a contest wins it when he fulfils those conditions better than others in the contest.

Geographical climate, historical past, natural resources, scientific bent of mind DO vastly contribute to the course a nation's history takes. They are all on the periphery. They are not the determinants. Each society is its own determinant. It chooses its destiny as part of humanity.

(27)      Society is Self-existent.

            It is its own determinant.

            It is under no obligation to any external force in its evolution.

The lives of children are determined by the parents till they take it up in their own hands.

Man plans his life after a fashion till a fancy possesses him when the whole life changes course.

There are external possibilities one can choose.

There are external determinants which one cannot disregard.

Similarly there are inner promptings which one can follow or neglect.

There are inner compulsions one cannot go against.

Externally such changes arise from politics, trade, market, fashions, availability of funds, attitude of the society to the individual, attitude of the individual to the society, monetary practices, out sourcing, relations with the outside world in matters of import, etc. some of them can be disregarded and others cannot be put aside.

Society gives a leeway to government, people, NGOs, individuals, etc. up to a point.

Once, for whatever reasons, it is awake, it imposes itself on the population.

In times of Revolution we see such changes inescapable.

Living conditions of everyone changing for the better, though one is not compelled from outside to change, one compels himself to fall in line. The landmarks of human evolution will be a very long list - opening of the New World, the Glorious Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, French Revolution, Russian Revolution, World Wars, airplane, railways, cars, telephone, telegraph, computer, hippie movement, Internet and a host of other things

  • All these are moments when the society decided to be its own determinant.
  • Even when the social evolution is not determined by the Society itself, let us know it is the decision of the society not to interfere.

Society is a self-conscious entity capable of determining its own course. It gives enough scope for lesser forces to dominate and direct the forces or the main course, but, ultimately it has in its hands the say.

Society is not a concept, not even an organisation. It is a living ORGANISM having LIVE relations with all its parts all the time directly or indirectly.

story | by Dr. Radut