The History of Development: From Western Origins to Global Faith
by Gilbert Rist
For years we have believed in development. Indeed, with all its hopes of a more just and materially prosperous world, development has fascinated ... Show synopsis For years we have believed in development. Indeed, with all its hopes of a more just and materially prosperous world, development has fascinated societies in both North and South. Looking at this collective fancy in retrospect, Gilbert Rist shows the underlying similarities of its various theories and strategies, and their shared inability to transform the world. He argues persuasively that development has always been a kind of collective delusion which in reality has simply promoted a widening of market relations despite the good intentions of its advocates. Now this era is over. Globalization has taken over. Former development promises have been shelved and replaced by a new but narrower slogan, 'the struggle against poverty'. Yet in spite of the failures of development, aggravated now by globalization, we are told that growth - which nobody would risk abandoning - is still the only means of salvation. It is clear that the need for belief is stronger than any doubts about its actual wisdom. What, then, are the origins of this naive faith? Why have people put so much energy into proclaiming it and seeking to make it a reality? Why has it proved an illusion, and what future does it now have? These are some of the questions which this thoughtful and penetrating history of the concept of development explores. This book is an invitation to rethink contemporary problems and to prepare ourselves for what might be called the post-development era.