International development or global development is a wide concept concerning level of development on an international scale. It is the basis for international classifications such as developed country, developing country and least developed country. There are however many schools of thought and conventions regarding, which are the exact features constituting development of a country.
International development is different from simple development in that it is specifically composed of institutions and policies that arose after the Second World War. These institutions focus on alleviating poverty and improving living conditions in previously colonised countries.
Although international relations and international trade have existed for many hundreds of years, it is only in the past century that international development theory emerged as a separate body of ideas. More specifically, it has been suggested that 'the theory and practice of development is inherently technocratic, and remains rooted in the high modernist period of political thought that existed in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War'. Throughout the 20th century, before the concept of international development became a common word, four aspects were used to describe the idea: