Development, Poverty and Sustainability

  • Created by: sikemi__
  • Created on: 28-05-21 11:22

What is development?

  • Difficult to define - used normatively (to set out what should happen in the world as societies, environments and economies change, or what is planned e.g. intentional development) and descriptively (to describe what does happen (imminent development)
  • There is history and contestation to ideas of development, where it emerges from and what its role is
  • Language of development e.g. First/Third World, Global North/South, BRICS, NICS, G7, G20 - when we name one country/idea it co-constitutes another (i.e. by referring to a country as developed it suggests that there are undeveloped countries). A dichotomy that categorises and simplifies and in doing so, gives order and power to hierarchies
  • Definitions are not fixed and there are politics around where particular labels are categorised in terms of development
  • The way that we understand development is through economic wealth (GDP per capita)
    • Highly unequal measure - having hiigh GDP doesn't mean there are necessarily a large proportion of its population which is developed
    • Perhaps GDP growth gives a better understanding
  • Drivers to change within development
    • Development from above - aid donors, multilateral organisations, govt planners
    • Development from below - grassroot organisations, communities, justic movements
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Changing ideas about development

  • Underdevelopment - idea that some countries aren't as developed as they should be emerging in post WW2 moment
    • Truman laid out a plan for foreign policy for America post WW2 which was about large amount of aid and development assistance going to 3rd world, underdeveloped countries where US leadership, science and technical knowledge and prosperity and global peace would be delivered to free them
    • An ideological project about preserving certain forms of capitalist interest and US geopolitical security, birth of the idea of development
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The Development Century

  • The Development Century
    • Post WW2 Marshall Plan rebuilt Europe - bilateral and multilateral aid
  • Stages of economic growth
    • 1960s
      • Idea of development was pushed through new institutions such as the UN and multilateral agreements
      • Most famously espooused as Roscoe's stages of economic growth (1960)
        • Argues that economic takeoff must initially be led by few individual economic sectors, echoing ideas of comparative advantage and criticising Marxiist theories of self reliance
        • Five stages: traditional society, preconditions for takeoff, takeoff, maturity, age of high mass consumption
      • Developmentalism rose in the 1960s
        • Large involvement of the state and investments into the state to create security and infrastructure investment around that to create conditions for takeoff and strong market economies
        • But, social and economic conditions in the poorest, post colonial countries worsened - gap between simplistic dev model and reality
    • 1970s
      • In trying to make sense of the failure, a growng critical field emerged that question performance strategies and ideologies of post war development - Development Theory
      • Looked at the relationship between powerful 1st world countries and 3rd world, suggesting that development processes and governance employed create dependencies rather than independence and growth - countries are less dev
      • Periphery countries worked to produce natural resources, cheap labour and consumer markets for wealthy countries which without these would not be able to ensure their high standard of living
    • 1980s
      • Neoliberalism - recession in early 1980s produced conditions that exacerbated failures of developmentalism model
      • 'Human wellbeing can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedom and skills within an institutional framework characterised by strong private property rights, free markets and free trade' (Harvey, 2004)
      • Idea that failings of the current mode of economic dev are that there is regulatory structures and protectionist intervention and that even aid inhibits ability of markets to facilitate development, therefore creating dependency
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Economic liberalisation

  • Key instruments: World Bank and IMF
    • Work through development to impose new conditionalities upon governments or states seeking loans or aid for their own development
    • Implemented through structural adjustment programs (supposedly addressing debt in the Third World but also slimming down on govt in those countries and orientating investment towards privatised service provision for social improvement)
      • Impact of structural adjustment: expansion of large scale development investment e.g. mining, oil and agrbusiness e.g. soy, palm oil, sugar and cotton; rapid rural change e.g. Amazon/Indonesian deforestation for soya, cattle, palm oil; higher unemployment e.g. shrinkage of state employment; rural smallholders cost increases e.g. fertiliser, pesticides, grains and other cash crops; increasing inequality as top 1% had increasingly more wealth when compared to previous 20/30 years; poverty was higher at the end of the 1990s than the 1980s
  • We also see the emergence of the WTO, replacing the GATT of 1948 as framework for negotiating trade agreements and regulating trade through a platform that advances free trade, working towards the removal of barriers and tarrifs
    • Seeking a speeding up of comparative advantages, countries would open borders to international corporations who could better and cheaply supply certain goods while these nations would focus on certain key industries that they were at a comp adv to compete with
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Did Development work?

  • World Bank, 2000
    • Global GNP of $29 trillion
    • Less than 10% from low ncome countries (<2% without India and China)
  • Avg annual income less than $300 per head
    • In places such as Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Tanzania etc...
  • Share of global wealth enjoyed by world's poorest people was persistently low


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Development and Poverty

  • In the 1990s, the challenge of development was increasingly understood in terms of the alleviation of poverty
  • Poverty can be...
    • Income poverty e.g. absolute ($/day) or related to costs of livng (Real Living Wage)
    • Intra-household differentials (gender/age)
    • Sen (1999) questions the centrality and singularity of economic development in terms of undertsnading poverty, instead, thinking through the capabilities afforded by income
    • Does away with income as the starting point and thinks straight to capability and poverty being a deprivation of this
  • Millenium Development Goals
    • Objective was to eradicate poverty through a formal international approach
    • Focus on three key areas: human capital, infrastructure and human rights
    • Aimed to reshape the development agenda to refocu on poverty reduction and other social goals
    • Eradication of poverty became a formal international objective iat the UN Millenium Summit in 2000
    • 2015 MDGs aimed to reduce propoortion of people n absolute poverty by 50% by 2015
    • 6 fundamental values: freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature and shared responsibility
    • Some targets were a bit ambitious
    • Outcomes...
      • 'produced the most successful anti-poverty movement in history' (Moon, 2015)
      • Success: proportion of poor fallen in every region, sig progress in gender parity for primary education, child mortality before age 5 halved
      • Misses: 1 billion still openly defecate, CO2 emissions from 2011 were still 50% above 1990 level, foreign aid stagnated at 0.3% (far below 0.7% target)
  • Sustainable Development Goals (17 of them)
    • Much more inclusive and a clearer outline around development (not just for global S)
    • Drew attention to envronment
    • Different dimensions of poverty raised e.g. wellbeing and how it intersected with environment
    • Framework for actually ending poverty and hunger rather than just reducing it
    • 193 countries ratified it
    • Positives: universal agenda, high income countries expected to reach them as well, raises profile of ecological and env issues, wide discussions
    • Limitations: too general?, top down, relevant targets still lack precision and clarity, no obligations to businesses/consumers
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Alternative approaches to development

  • Buen Vivir (Living Well)
    • Way of life that is community centric, ecologically balance and culturally sensitive
    • Adopted in Ecuador and Bolivia
    • States that wellbeng is only possible within a community (including nature)
    • Bolivia's 2009 Constitution stated in Article 342 that 'it is the duty of the State and the population to conserve, protect and use natural resources and biodiversity sustainably and to preserve environmental balance'
  • Happiness
    • E.g. Happy Planet Index adopted by 151 countries which measure life expectancy, experienced wellbeing and Ecological Footprint
    • Desgned to challenge welk established indices of countries' development such as GDP and HDI which don't take sustainability into account
  • Safe and Just Living Space for Humanity
    • Takes into account our environmentalism of planetary limits and also the needs of people in a social and socially just manner that recognises certain ecological needs and necessities
    • Thinks critically beyond planetary boundaries, instead, thinkng about human living conditions in terms of inclusiveness and sustainable economic development and this occuring without breaching environmental limits that comprise and the social limits that allow this
    • i.e. not limiting the ability and opportunity/potential for people but also not limiting ecological and non-human environment around us

Sustainability is a political idea about the future.

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