This article draws attention to commonalities in the use of the term development in relation to global development as practised by the United Nations Development Programme, and human development as taught in foundation courses for teacher education, nursing, and other social sciences. It argues, following Sen (2009), that the common direction and purpose of these two development projects is towards social justice. Theories of lifespan development affect the lives of persons both through national policy and self-management. Human development cannot and ought not to be sustained as a project for spreading euro-western values. Using the example of youth unemployment, it is argued that popular theories of career development, based on the twentieth century contexts of their authors, promote outdated assumptions, which create real personal turmoil for young adults who are trying to fit themselves into this changing world. The focus of the study of human development is optimal directions; thus for individuals, as for countries, development is both a global and a moral project. Placing emphasis on the global context of human development has far-reaching implications for scholars of lifespan development. These considerations also foreshadow the need to examine the role of lifespan developmental theory in Education, which is an acknowledged tool of global development.
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