|Essays on Food, Hunger, Nutrition, Primary Health Care and Development (AVIVA, 480 p.)|
|21. Development Nemesis|
|Part One: Development and today's reality|
|Section II. Myth and reality in development ideology, paradigms and models|
The chilling injustice of what is really happenning in the world of the poor seems to be escaping many of our development scholars' attention, passing by their windows on the smooth flow of economic analysis, disguising itself in the respectable clothing of the financial vocabulary. (UNICEF, 1990).
Development studies cannot continue to simply be a descriptive discipline that seeks merely to explain how underdevelopment has come about. Description offers no remedy. Development must also be prescriptive, actively seeking change through political action. In today's world, this action cannot be confined to the national arena only. We need to embark more on studies of poverty and inequality between nations, looking for appropriate avenues of direct political action at this international level as well.
Development studies is to become the social science with commitment to do what other social sciences only preach. Therefore, development teachers should take-up a more political role commensurate with this mandate. (Jarvis, 1989).
In the prevailing (mostly functionalist) development paradigm, the problem has not so much been how to promote innovation as such, but how to prevent the emergence of unwanted innovation from below. Western development has constantly attempted to channel and at the same time control the inevitable flow of innovations by protecting and fostering those ones which coincide with the (mainly political) interests and orientations of the ruling social forces in the North and of the local elites that emulate them and benefit from them.
Poverty rather than any microbe, parasite or worm is the more relevant key vector of ill-health and, malnutrition and it is no coincience that the poor are the ones who suffer from these deprivations (or rather privations, since they never had good health or nutrition in the first place...).
The countless packaged development schemes implemented around the world have actually worsened the status of blue-collar workers and peasants. By overlooking the macro constraints, development studies' specialists keep dreaming they can revert maldevelopment -"if only we are left to do our technical work better and more efficiently". One often wonders if things would have turned out any worse without all those packaged interventions. With them, what we have witnessed and what we continue to witness is rather the unfolding of a process of modernization of poverty in which a number of new variables have been introduced that have mostly confounded the problem(s). We have also seen the rise (and fall) of pseudo-macro intervention approaches. These are attempts at acting in the macro context, but departing from a flawed analysis of reality thus leading to failure. What seems to ultimately matter more is that development studies scholars and development practitioners "wash their brains in the same ideological tub" each day.
The time has come for new frameworks to break old thinking on development. (Jonsson, 1988).