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Reading ‘Development’ as a Disaster

Reading ‘Development’ as a Disaster
2009Opportunity Communities

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Our present‐day world revolves around something known as the ‘development’ sun. This particular sun rises in the North and sets in the South. The industrialized, Christian, white North becomes ‘bright and beautiful,’ while the agricultural, mostly non‐Christian, colored South stays dark and dreary. The North is the home of the “industrial civilization,” the South is the jungle of “traditional backwardness”. In developmental terms, the North is hailed as ‘developed,’ while the South is belittled as ‘developing,’ or ‘under‐developed.’ Then, there is a whole other set of countries called ‘least developed.’

These terms are obvious enough, and don’t warrant an explanation, suffice to it say that the South is considered to be not quite mature, not quite caught up to the established standards of the North, not fully grown, incapable.

Every human society has or had its own understanding of pathways to development. Development may be simply defined as progressive change within a passage of time, managed by people who consider the internal impacts and external costs. The problem, however, is not with that concept of growth. Development in today’s world has come to mean the imposition of one particular interpretation and organization of economic growth onto the whole wide world.