Growth is about having more, development about being more

by Ryan Streeter on February 16, 2014. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Paul Godfrey summarizes Jane Jacobs’ simple distinction between growth and development this way:

Growth consists of a quantitative change in the output of an economic system, while development captures a qualitative change in the types of outputs of that system. Growth is about having more, development about being more.

Quite a bit of “economic development” proceeds on a growth rather than development logic: increase the number of jobs in a city, increase the average wage of the jobs in a region, etc. True economic development looks like Seattle in the 1980s, Austin in the 2000s, etc.

None of that, by the way, is the main point of Godfrey’s new book, More than Money, which explores 5 types of capital needed to eliminate poverty. It sounds worth the read.