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Guide to Development Speak



The study of economics in terms of whole systems, dealing with economic growth, inflation and unemployment and with national economic policies relating to these issues.


Not having enough nourishing food with the adequate amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals, calories, etc. to support human growth and development.

Market economy

An economy in which most goods and services are produced by the private sector rather than the public sector and in which prices of goods and services adjust according to the forces of supply and demand.

Maternal mortality

Death occurring during or within 42 days of a pregnancy from causes related to pregnancy. The maternal mortality rate is the number of women who die as a result of childbearing in a given year per 100,000 births.

Mass production

Large-scale production of goods or services achieved primarily through mechanisation, specialisation and the division of labour.


The study of individual parts of the economy, the household and the firm. It involves looking at how prices are determined and how prices determine the production, distribution and use of goods and services.


Small loans, usually under $5,000, to individuals – most often the rural poor - to allow them to escape the poverty trap. The aim is to help them start small businesses or sustain self-employment.

Migrant labour

Casual and usually unskilled workers who move systematically from one place to another offering their services on a temporary, often seasonal basis.


The permanent relocation of people from one country to another. See emigration and immigration.


A significant point of achievement or development, which describes progress toward a goal.

Millennium Declaration

The declaration, agreed and adopted by 189 countries at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000, provided the basis for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

A set of eight goals, together with specific, quantifiable and time bound targets, that were agreed and adopted by 189 countries at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000. The MDGs involve a shared commitment to reduce poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women and ensure human development and economic progress in all countries by 2015 or sooner.

Mission statement

A statement that seeks define an organisation's basic reason for being. A mission statement is not defined in expressions of goals or objectives; rather it reflects what the organisation is, who it serves, what it does, and what it can accomplish.

Money supply

Sum total of currency in circulation plus commercial bank deposits.


The growth and cultivation of a single crop on large tracts of land. In many parts of the world this has become a feature of modern large-scale agriculture.


A market situation in which a product that does not have close substitutes is being produced and sold by a single seller.

Multilateral institutions

Organisations that are owned by more than two countries.

Multinational Corporation

An international or transnational corporation with headquarters in one country but branch offices in a wide range of both developed and developing countries. Examples include General Motors, Coca-Cola, Philips, and British Petroleum.
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