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Human development is a concept within a field of international development. It involves studies of the human condition with its core being the capability approach. The inequality adjusted Human Development Index is used as a way of measuring actual progress in human development by the United Nations. It is an alternative approach to a single focus on economic growth, and focused more on social justice, as a way of understanding progress.
The united Nations Development Programme has been defined Human Development as "the process of enlarging people's choices", said choices being allowing them to "lead a long and healthy life, to be educated, to enjoy a decent standard of living", as well as "political freedom, other guaranteed human rights and various ingredients of self-respect".
The concept of human developments was first laid out by Mahbub ul Haq and then developed by Amartya Sen, a 1998 Nobel laureate, and expanded upon by Martha Nussbaum, Sabina Alkire, Ingrid Robeyns, and others. Development concerns expanding the choices people have, to lead lives that they value, and improving the human condition so that people have the chance to lead full lives. Thus, human development is about much more than economic growth, which is only a means of enlarging people’s choices. Fundamental to enlarging these choices is building human capabilities —the range of things that people can do or be in life. Capabilities are "the substantive freedoms [a person] enjoys to lead the kind of life [they have] reason to value". Human development disperses the concentration of the distribution of goods and services that underprivileged people need and center its ideas on human decisions. By investing in people, we enable growth and empower people to pursue many different life paths, thus developing human capabilities. The most basic capabilities for human development are: to lead long and healthy lives, to be knowledgeable (i.e., educated), to have access to resources and social services needed for a decent standard of living, and to be able to participate in the life of the community. Without these, many choices are simply not available, and many opportunities in life remain inaccessible.
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