Sept 19 outline
Lecture 2 September 19 th
These notes are made available courtesy of Elena Goracinova. Feel free to add points and relevant links and resources to
note. (Click on the edit tab above, make the additions, and be sure to click "Save" at the bottom of the page when finished)
What is development?
Conceptualization and Discourse
Dutch company- investment opportunity in Ethiopia (livestock industry)
Ethiopia has one of the largest livestock industries and it composes more than half the GDP
Paradox: How are people starving when they live next to this resource? Why are they not benefiting?
Moyo (economist with Goldman Sachs, critical of development aid and questioning the whole industry):
Financial aid has done more harm than good to African countries. Data shows that African countries are worse off
than they were 50 years ago. This happens often because development resources are not properly utilized.
There exist serious challenges to the development industry (Moyo, Easterly)
Importance of language
Uncovering the assumptions of the conventional wisdoms
Historical roots of how we came to view development today
Understand how underdevelopment as a social construct was invented
5 words exercise:
Most often mentioned words: progress, poverty, growth, change, economy, technology, health.
Why look at labels? Why are they so important? The power of language!
Classifications are made with a certain objective in mind, with a certain purpose.
There is a reason behind every label you see, although we take them for granted without questioning them (we often
tend to understand labels as part of reality)
Labels organize things in response to an issue, a certain purpose.
Labels have a set of assumptions and are ideologically embedded.
Labeling legitimizes certain phenomena and homogenizes things.
When it comes to development issues, it can shape decisions.
Labeling is not innocent!
Labeling legitimizes actions and leads to certain types of behaviors.
Labels are not fixed since they change as our ideas change.
What words do we use to describe some of the countries in Africa?
Low income countries
Third-World (origin in 1960’s, from a Frenchman that saw a geopolitical divide between blocks of countries during
the Cold War; he didn’t think that Third World Countries belonged in the First or Second World)-people forgot the
original meaning and intent of the label Third World.
How does the World Bank define development? How do they classify countries?
Classification is made based on income: low-income, middle income, high income.
According to them development means economic growth. Namely, the more national wealth, the better.
Main measure: GDP (total amount of money in a country divided by the number of people in a country)
PPP (purchasing power parity)- a dollar doesn’t mean the same thing in different countries. Determine the value of a
particular amount of money in different environments.
Division between the North and the South according to GDP (with the exception of Australia)
Development requires economic growth.
Development as reduction of poverty and hunger
Poverty is associated with lack of income in the conventional discourse.
What is poverty? Definitions of poverty include a lack of something, an absence. This implies that the presence of the
things that lack is natural.
Poverty defined as lack of money as if the existence of money is a natural condition.
However, money as a means of exchange appeared relatively late in human history.
How we understand poverty? A lack of technology can be and is often seen as a sign of poverty.
MDG’s have a set of indicators that are subject to how you want to measure them.
If you want to improve the state of health you don’t count the number of maternal deaths, but attempt to create or support
various institutions that can support women.
Amartya Sen: Development as Freedom
Poverty is a lack of opportunity or freedom and not the lack of money.
The loss or lack of ability to make choices leads to desperation that can lead to violence.
- Jayesh Prajapati
Ran over by an SUV at a gas station when he tried to stop the customer to get the money he/she owed. He would have had to pay for the loss if the customer didn’t pay. He lacked opportunities and saw pursuing the SUV as the only choice.
"Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” – US Constitution
Is this statement reflective of the manner in which the US handles