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Maßstäbe der menschlichen Entwicklung

NEW YORK – Die meisten würden sagen, „Entwicklung“ lässt sich am besten anhand der Quantität der Veränderungen messen – etwa Zuwächse beim Durchschnittseinkommen, bei der Lebenserwartung oder bei den Schuljahren. Mein Büro beim Entwicklungsprogramm der Vereinten Nationen (UNPD) ist für den Index der menschlichen Entwicklung (Human Development Index, HDI) zuständig, der alle drei Statistiken berücksichtigt und den nationalen Fortschritt einzelner Länder vergleicht.

Was viele Menschen sich nicht klarmachen ist, dass solche Messgrößen zwar nützlich sind, aber längst nicht alles sagen. Um zu verstehen, wie entwickelt ein Land ist, müssen wir auch erfassen, wie sich der Fortschritt auf das Leben der Menschen auswirkt. Und um das zu verstehen, müssen wir die Qualität der Veränderungen berücksichtigen.

Wenn Statistiker Länder vergleichen, benötigen sie vergleichbare Daten. Wenn etwa der Schulbesuch verglichen werden soll, erfassen Wissenschaftler die Zahl der registrierten Schüler in den einzelnen Ländern im Verhältnis zu allen Kindern im Schulalter (was allein schon eine Herausforderung sein kann, weil die Aktenführung in vielen Entwicklungsländern nicht immer standardisiert erfolgt).

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