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Lecture 3

Lecture 3 - Is Progress Inevitable Part 1 - January 23.docx

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Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANT204H1
Professor
Saul Cohen

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January 23, 2013. Lecture 3 – Is Progress Inevitable? (Part 1): Transitioning Cultures and “Developing” People The Thaba-Tseka Development Project  Lesotho: small landlocked county in Southern Africa  Population of about 2 million  Received development assistance from 26 different countries  72 international non-government organizations (including CIDA)  Example of “failed” development o Obviously the definition of “failed” is rather subjective  1975 World Bank Issues a report on Lesotho to justify a series of loans to the country  The World Bank Report o “Virtually untouched by modern economic development, Lesotho was, and still is, basically, a traditional subsistence peasant society. But rapid population growth resulting in extreme pressure on the land, deteriorating soil and declining agricultural yields led to a situation in which the country was no longer able to produce enough food for its people.”  The Oxford History of South Africa o “In 1837 the Sotho of Basutoland…had grain stored for four to eight years: in 1844 white farmers “flocked” to them to buy grain. During 1872 (after the loss of their most fertile land west of the Caledon) the Sotho exported 100,000 muids [185-lb bags] of grain…and in 1877 when the demand for grain on the diamond fields had fallen, ‘large quantities’ were held by producers and shopkeepers in Basutoland.”  Discrepancy between these two descriptions, if the World Bank Report was correct in Lesotho having always been a “subsistence peasant society” then the Oxford History report would have said otherwise o Inaccurate information in the WBreport o People from the WB are trained to see what they see and only see what they were trained to o In the World Bank version there is only a summary that “naturalizes” their poverty and lacks in personalizing the community whereas the Oxford version gives a rich background to their agricultural life  Poverty is NATURALIZED Ideas of Progress  On one end of the spectrum there is the “primitive” label; on the other is the “civilized” label o Similar to “pre-modern” vs. “modern” o “Uneducated” vs. “educated” o “rural” vs. “urban” o “poor” vs. “rich” o “backward” vs. “modern”  Attempting to discern or even create a difference between people  “So poor and hungry I certainly was. But underdeveloped? I never thought – nor did anyone else – that being poor meant being ‘underdeveloped’ and lacking human dignity.” (Shrestha)  People “closer to nature” see “progress” as a negative thing  Civilization often results in the destruction of the planet and various issues to do with this  On the other hand the more “primitive” way of life is simpler and has more respect for nature, is more reliant on nature, more in tune with nature  Vandana Shiva vs. Jeffrey Sachs o Jeffery Sachs: A few generations ago, almost everybody was poor… the Industrial Revolution led to new riches but some people were left behind.  Key points in his book talk about how undeveloped nations should be given the funds and opportunities to reach that first wrung on the ladder of development  Makes mention about how sweat shops are a necessity to give children/women/elderly a chance to provide for their family o Vandana Shiva: This is a totally false history of poverty. The poor are not those who have been “left behind”; they are the ones who have been robbed. The wealth accumulated by Europe and North America are largely based on riches tak
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