For many generations, people from all over the world have searched for ways and means by which they could improve their living conditions. The main trust of this search is to discover relevant knowledge, principles, and programs of activities that could be used to bring development to their nations. Though there are many views regarding the meaning and constituents of development, Adjibolosoo (1995, p. 13) argued convincingly that: Economic development policies and programs must be aimed at the eradication of disease, illiteracy, urban squalor, malnutrition, economic injustice and inequity, poverty, all forms of prejudice and so on. It must foster the humanness in every human being and the right to freedom of choice based on universal principles of life (and/or sound ethical and value systems) and the means to peaceful human existence/coexistence. . . . Countries must be in a position to create fertile economic environments in which jobs can be fashioned for their people; provide adequate and affordable health services for everyone; develop and offer relevant education, training and mentoring programs for the entire population; and, above all, achieve and sustain national economic self-sufficiency.
To Adjibolosoo (1995, p. 13), therefore,
The true acid test for successful economic development policies and programs is the effectiveness of society, not only in telling the poor and the severely disadvantaged about the various practical ways through which they can get over their predicament, but also in creating the environment within which every citizen is able to feed, clothe, and shelter himself or herself and, above all, feel strongly that he or she belongs to a humane society. Increasing success in healing individual brokenheartedness in society; continuously rescuing those who are under the perpetual lure of idleness and self-destruction; lessening human ignorance and aimlessness; recognizing and correcting follies of past policies and programs; changing, minimizing and transforming the society’s cultural beliefs, habits and customs of the heart that mitigate against the economic development process in order to promote positive adaptation; and the growing capacity to feed, clothe and house all people in society are therefore to be viewed as the major objects of economic development.
In the world today, everyone agrees with the concept and goals of development described in the quotation above. The failure to deal successfully with the ongoing human problems leads one to ask two critical questions:
- Why are human beings failing to overcome successfully their social, economic, and political problems?
- Why are people living in certain countries continuing to find it too difficult to achieve the goals of their development plans and policies?
To answer this question appropriately, the primary objective of this excerpt is to discuss briefly the human factor (HF) concept and then highlight its significance to nation building and citizenship development. It is argued that any countries that hope to develop must of necessity seek improvement of the human quality of its people.
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