Charles Kenny's article about the importance of "real" jobs is the most interesting thing on development that I've read in the past few months:
But worldwide, by far the most common way out of poverty in rural and urban areas alike is getting a job working for a company... Having a regular, paying job "may thus be the most important difference between the poor and the middle class," conclude Banerjee and Duflo.
"Well paid" and "good" are relative terms when it comes to unemployment on a global scale... Nonetheless, these jobs are still better than other options--such as begging or hawking on the street or subsistence farming.
So for all of the grind of the 9-to-5, the great majority of the planet would be absolutely delighted to get a position with regular hours and a regular paycheck. And successful economic development--significantly raising incomes above subsistence--is about helping people achieve that dream... In the long term, economic development is about moving millions off the small farm and into jobs.