HDialogue: 25th Anniversary Special Articles
I am honoured to join in marking the 25th anniversary of the Human Development Report. For too long before the advent of this landmark series, a nation’s prosperity was viewed solely through the lens of economic growth. This approach obscured a central truth: people are the real wealth of a nation.
When I think about human development, I often recall the speech that Nelson Mandela gave in 2005 at a rally to make poverty history. He said: “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”
It has been 25 years since the first Human Development Report (HDR) introduced a new concept for advancing human wellbeing which challenged the notion that the level of economic growth and of GDP per capita were the leading indicators of a country’s progress.
A concept is always broader than any of its proposed measures. Any suggested measure for any concept cannot fully capture the richness, the breadth and the depth of the concept itself. This is true of the notion of human development as well. In principle human choices can be infinite and change over time.