Quantitative Social Development

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Written by Nash Popovic

Quantitative social development refers to an increase or improvement of similar competences and capacities that typify this kind of personal development, although different examples naturally apply:

  • Dynamism (mobility, cultural exchanges)
  • Complexity (of social organisation)
  • Differentiation (e.g. specialisation) and social integration
  • Pattern recognition (of social processes)
  • Creativity (e.g. technological and other innovations, art production);
  • Refinement (of social practices)
  • Focus regulation (e.g. an ability to narrow the focus on one social issue, but also to expand it to include other societies, the environment, etc.)
  • Diversity and versatility (e.g. multicultural coexistence and cooperation)
  • Internal control (e.g. autonomy, self-governance)
  • Efficiency (in utilising natural and other resources)
  • Stability and flexibility (an ability of a society to adapt to changes)
  • Perspective (e.g. taking into account long term consequences)
  • The scope of moral sense (e.g. equality before the law).

 These capacities are manifested through social practices that affect all three dimensions of development:

  • The information dimension is affected through the educational system and the development of science, technology, philosophy, etc.
  • The experience dimension is affected through development of art, spirituality and also technology (e.g. airplanes allow some unique experiences that were not available to our ancestors).
  • The agency dimension is affected through, for example, a political and legal system that allows an overall increase in exercising agency (rather than being limited to some individuals at the expense of others).

 This kind of social development may be a result of internal processes (choices that a society makes) but also competition, cooperation or integration with other societies, and it is usually (although not necessarily) advantageous. For example, disunity in the native population of South America, North America, and India, was one of the major factors in allowing vastly outnumbered Europeans to take over. Of course, this example is a huge simplification (China, for example, was more united, but its fate was similar at that time). There were other factors such as diseases and the war technology that played a part, but they too can be traced to some of the above elements. Also, as in the case of personal development, there is another kind of social development to which we will turn now.