Social development and economic growth are closely intertwined. Social indicators—of life expectancy, fertility and literacy, for example—convey a clear and consistent picture of rapid progress around the world in recent decades, sometimes a more transparent picture than do more commonly used economic indicators. Since 1960, the people of China have seen their life expectancy increase by nine months per year; in India, by four to five months; in Ghana, by more than three months. The sources of greater prosperity and longer lives are gradually becoming better understood, especially the economic forces such as investment, education, trade and economic stability, to name but a few of the determinants of growth identified before the advent of modern growth theory by philosophers and economists from Adam Smith to W. Arthur Lewis and Robert M. Solow. Diversification away from excessive dependence on natural resources, including minerals, has been identified as a possible additional source of growth through assorted channels that will be discussed in what follows. The role of political and social forces in economic development is less well understood, however, so this is where we begin.