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University of Guelph
GEOG 3020
Noella Gray

1 GEOG*2030 Sustainable Development: A Brief History 2013-09-17 Today‟s Plan Recap/conclusion –measuring environment and development  Pros/cons of using indicators Environment and Development  Brief overview of history, definitions and theories Recap: Environment and Development Indicators  Wide variety of sources of data, types of data (recall your suggestions)  We considered indicators that compared data at the national level o ESI o World Bank Recalling our activity/discussion on Thursday...  Pros of Indicators o Standardized measurements – a way to compare meaningfully across areas o Wide range of measures to understand different issues o Draw attention to important issues – can inspire action (pride/shame) o They measure change and show if things are getting better or worse o Set targets and can guide policy  Cons of Indicators o Often do not give a comprehensive understanding of an issue on their own o Indicators are at a national level, do not show distribution – where is the problem? (Scale) o Measurements change – snapshot in time o Lots of indicators – what ones would you use and why? o Indicators measure trends but do not say how to solve them o Data/methodology - reliability? o Subjective analyses made to look objective (choosing an indicator to represent an issue which could look objective) o Implied responsibility (assumes that a country is responsible for the issues shown by the statistics in that country) o Rankings miss absolute performance – one indicator at a time can make some areas look much better in some 2 ways, and much worse in others o Who decides?  Indicators are useful but also problematic at the same time – need to be mindful of their uses  The „culprit(s)‟ and solutions vary according to how we define and measure problems (using which knowledge, at which scale)  Pay attention to all environment and development activities (including measurements and „indicators‟) as exercises in power o -> which kinds of power? (power to control resources, to control access to resources, to control discourse etc.)  “ the human and environmental „condition‟ is thought about, viewed or understood underpins subsequent interventions” (Elliott p.16) What are Environment and Development? Development:  Dictionary of Human Geography  Gives you definitions according to geographers  “Development is one of the most complex words in the English language”  A more recent usage refers to “Third World development – in its specific forms of state and multilateral policy harnessed to the tasks of championing economic growth, „catching up‟, improving welfare” o -- The Dictionary of Human Geography, 4 thedition (2000).  International Development: as a political and economic project that starts post WWII o Transition from „colonial world‟ to „developing world‟ The Birth of „Development‟  “…We must embark on a bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas. More than half the people of the world are living in conditions approaching misery... For the first time in history, humanity possesses the knowledge and the skill to relieve the suffering of these people…. And, in cooperation with other nations, we should foster capital investment in areas needing development…” o -President Harry S. Truman, inaugural address, Thursday, January 20, 1949 o notion that you could win the hearts of those in other countries through peace and development – fulfill their 3 aspects of a better life – promotion of democracy and capitalism Development Theories/Practices Timeline 1950s/60s: Modernization  Building out of Truman‟s address  Argument: less developed nations need to „catch up‟ with the West o Development follows a uniform, linear path o Based on the belied in capitalism, democracy, and faith in science and technology o Believed in “Stages of Growth” (Rostow) o Focused primarily on economic activity  Policies: o Government and international investment for industrialization, building markets o Emphasis on large infrastructure  Critique: o Did not yield promised results: inequality within and between counties worsened o Implied one, linear path (vs. many non-linear paths), implied superiority of the West 1960s/70s: Dependency Theory (informed by Marxist theory)  Argument: o Core/developed areas receive resources from 4 periphery/developing areas (based on colonial history/patterns) o Core development through capitalism creates underd
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