25 Years of Human Development Thinking

HDialogue: 25th Anniversary Special Articles

How has Human Development contributed and influenced the international debate? What are the challenges ahead? Development leaders reflect on these issues in a special series of the HDialogue blog.

Selim Jahan, Director of the Human Development Report Office

From a human development perspective, work, rather than jobs or employment is the relevant concept. A job is a narrow concept with a set of pre-determined time-bound assigned tasks or activities, in an input-output framework with labour as input and a commodity or service as output. Yet, jobs do not encompass creative work (e.g.

Leading Commentators on Human Development

Over the last 25 years, Heads of States and Government, Nobel Laureates and others have contributed to the Human Development Reports. Here you have some of their insights and ideas.

Professor Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate in Economics

Almost half a century ago, the philosopher Thomas Nagel published a famous paper called “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” The question I want to ask is: what is it like to be a human being? As it happens, Tom Nagel’s insightful paper in The Philosophical Review was also really about human beings, and only marginally about bats.

Visualizing 25 Years of Human Development

Human Development Reports have been pioneers in measuring and visualizing human progress. This section displays some influential graphs and visualization that have contributed to advance new ideas.

This graph compares the number of people who are income poor and those who suffer from multidimensional poverty -a concept that measures broader aspects of poverty including proportion and intensity of health, education and living standard deprivation in each poor household. According to income-based measures of poverty, 1.2 billion people live with $1.25 or less a day.