Development and Growth in the Field of CED
Development and growth are some of the most commonly used terms in the field of community economic development. The field of community economic development (CED) focuses on promoting the involvement of a community when working with public and private sectors towards the creation of strong markets, industries, and communities. This field also focuses on encouraging the use of local resources in a manner that enhances economic opportunities while enhancing social conditions in a sustainable manner. Some of the most common examples of initiatives in this field include enhancing opportunities for disadvantaged members of the community and undertaking measures to overcome challenges.
Given the focus of community economic development, growth and development are two common terms in this field. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably in this field because they share some similarities. The use of these two terms interchangeably is also fueled by the fact that economic development is regarded as a crucial aspect for economic growth. Despite the increased use of these terms interchangeably, there are two different concepts in the field of community economic development. In this regard, growth is a concept that refers to the increase in the amount of products and services generated within a specific period of time. CED initiatives focus on promoting through identifying economic, social, and environmental challenges that hinder the generation of desired amounts of products and services in an optimal way. Therefore, growth in the field of community economic development is measured in terms of the amount of products and services generated with a certain period of time. For growth to be achieved, the community must invent, invest, and reorganize its activities through improved collaborations with the public and private sector (Committee for Economic Development, 2003).
On the contrary, development refers to actions undertaken by policymakers to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges in a community. These actions are usually geared towards promoting the community’s political, health, and social well-being. In essence, policymakers create suitable frameworks for development through engaging in initiatives and actions that are centered on improving the standards of living and economic well-being of the community. As a result, growth is part of development since the latter is a wider concept that focuses on promoting the overall well-being of the community in different areas such as political, health, social, environment, and economic. According to the Committee for Economic Development (2003), development refers to public policies that affect the process of growth. This essentially means that growth cannot place without development because the latter is the framework with which a suitable environment for promoting growth is established.
There is a suggestion by some people that community economic development is simply about jobs and income. While this is true to some extent, it is not sufficient to describe the focus on the entire field of community economic development. As previously mentioned, CED is a wider field that focuses on promoting the community’s involvement when working with public and private sectors. One of the important aspects of this field is promoting jobs and income through the creation of strong markets and industries. However, this field incorporates other dimensions such as the development of appropriate policies and initiatives that address some of the challenges facing a community such as economic challenges. Community economic development is also geared towards localizing communities in order to promote and strengthen their social and economic development. Therefore, the suggestion that community economic development is simply about jobs and income is insufficient since it only covers one aspect and fails to consider the other important ones. The core of community economic development is promoting the social, economic, ecological, and environmental well-being of a community.
Economic Growth and Income Convergence or Divergence
Economic growth is a concept that refers to the increase in the amount of products and services generated over a certain period of time. In most cases, economic growth is measured in terms of an increase in the gross domestic product of a country. This increase in GDP represents the actual level of national output based on an increase in resources and technological improvements. Economic activities that are carried out within a specific area are usually geared towards enhancing economic growth, which is a crucial component in improving the standards of living. As a result, economic growth has significant impacts on the standards of living of people in a particular area.
One of the ways with which economic growth affects the standards of living in a particular area is through affecting income. As an economy grows, it has significant impacts on people’s income, which in turn influences standards of living. An important aspect to determine the impact of economic growth on standards of living is to determine whether it contributes to income convergence or divergence. In this case, convergence refers to growing together whereas divergence refers to moving apart as a result of growth in the economy. While an increase in incomes does not necessarily translate to better living standards, economic growth has significant impact on the levels of income in a particular area.
According to Global Economy Guide (2017), incomes tend to converge (grow together) as an economy grows, but only in developed/rich countries. European countries and other developed countries experience…