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Non-Economic Factors in Economic Development

From the available historical evidence, it is now obvious that non- economic factors are as much important in development as economic factors. Here we attempt to explain how they exercise influence on the process of economic development:
1) Human Resources:
Human resources are an important factor in economic development. Man provides labour power for production and if in a country labour is efficient and skilled, its capacity to contribute to growth will decidedly be high. The productivity of illiterate, unskilled, disease ridden and superstitious people is gener­ally low and they do not provide any hope to developmental work in a country. But in case human resources remain either unutilized or the manpower management remains defective, the same people who could have made a positive contribution to growth activity prove to be a burden on the economy.
2) Technical Know-How and General Education:
It has never been, doubted that the level of technical know-how has a direct bearing on the pace of development. As the scientific and technological knowledge advances, man discovers more and more sophisticated techniques of production which steadily raise the productivity levels.
Schumpeter was deeply impressed by the innovations done by the entrepreneurs, and he attributed much of the capitalist development to this role of the entrepreneurial class. Since technology has now become highly sophisticated, still greater attention has to be given to Research and Development for further advancement. Under assumptions of a linear homogeneous production function and a neutral technical change which does not affect the rate of substitution between capital and labour, Robert M. Solow has observed that the contribution of education to the increase in output per man hour in the United States between 1909 and 1949 was more than that of any other factor.
3) Political Freedom:
Looking to the world history of modern times one learns that the processes of development and under­development are interlinked and it is wrong to view them in isolation. We all know that the under-development of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Kenya and a few other countries, which were in the past British colonies, was linked with the development of England. England recklessly exploited them and appropriated a large portion of their economic surplus.
Dadabhai Naoroji has also candidly explained in his classic work ‘Poverty and Un-British Rule in India’ that the drain of wealth from India under the British was the major cause of the increase in poverty in India during that period, which in turn arrested the economic development of the country.
4) Social Organisation:
Mass participation in development programs is a pre-condition for accelerating the growth process. However, people show interest in the development activity only when they feel that the fruits of growth will be fairly distributed. Experiences from a number of countries suggest that whenever the defective social organisation allows some elite groups to appropriate the benefits of growth, the general mass of people develop apathy towards State’s development programs. Under the circumstances, it is futile to hope that masses will participate in the development projects undertaken by the State.
India’s experience during the whole period of development planning is a case in point. Growth of monopolies in industries and concentration of economic power in the modern sector is now an undisputed fact. Furthermore, the new agricultural strategy has given rise to a class of rich peasantry creating widespread disparities in the countryside.
5) Corruption:
Corruption is rampant in developing countries at various levels and it operates as a negative factor in their growth process. Until and unless these countries root-out corruption in their administrative system, it is most natural that the capitalists, traders and other powerful economic classes will continue to exploit national resources in their personal interests.
The regulatory system is also often misused and the licenses are not always granted on merit. The art of tax evasion has been perfected in the less developed countries by certain sections of the society and often taxes are evaded with the connivance of the government officials.
6) Desire to Develop:
Development activity is not a mechanical process. The pace of economic growth in any country depends to a great extent on people’s desire to develop. If in some country level of consciousness is low and the general mass of people has accepted poverty as its fate, then there will be little hope for development. According to Richard T. Gill, “The point is that economic development is not a mechanical process; it is not a simple adding- up of assorted factors. Ultimately, it is a human enterprise. And like all human enterprises, its outcome will depend finally on the skill, quality and attitudes of the men who undertake”.