|The Self and the Other: Sustainability and Self-Empowerment (WB, 1996, 76 p.)|
The preceding discussions were buttressed by many years of scholarly research in many disciplines. The unrehearsed spontaneity of the discussions a sense of the exploration of "the self and the other" as well as the interdisciplinary space in which the dialogue took place. This meeting is, as has been stated more than once, a first step in a long journey of discovery that we all hope will be actively pursued.
Many of the topics explored here are difficult ones to face: violence; the importance of parenting; the problem of integration in poor societies; bias against women, not just in terms of economic opportunity, but in terms of everyday life; the bonds of social reciprocity, which are essential for the poor to reduce their vulnerability; the sense of loss of cultural identity; and the perceived legitimacy of structures of governance and mediation. Many development practitioners, especially economists used to dealing with the aggregate abstractions of the macroeconomy, would rather leave these topics to others.
Yet the discussions make clear that such compartmentalization is not possible in the real world. Social pathologies such as crime, juvenile delinquency, violence, and broken homes are real obstacles to promoting nurturing development-real, environmentally and socially sustainable development that can be nurtured only from the outside by feeding its roots, not by pulling on its branches.
Nurturing development nurtures people and groups to flourish and to be all that they can be. Progress-real progress-is when the poor, the weak, the marginalized are empowered to become the producers of their own bounty and welfare, not the recipients of charity or the beneficiaries of aid.
The topics of these discussions are therefore very much on the global agenda of a world caught in the throes of a profound transformation. We hope that this meeting, and these published proceedings, show that we must tap into the wisdom of all these disciplines to make headway on these topics. Of the development practitioners who do not want to take this road, we ask: If not us, who? If not now, when?