UNDERSTANDING "DEVELOPMENT" TODAY
[a] NEW vs [b] ORTHODOX THINKING
FIVE BASIC DIFFERENCES
Johan van Zyl
1. The FOCUS of development
[a] Development is about people and not about objects i.e. it must be people-centred.
[b] The opposite applies: it is about objects i.e. development is about economic [GDP] growth and only afterwards about people - if social funding is available.
2. The NATURE of development
[a] Development is a process of change that occurs inside people - either they do it themselves or it does not happen at all !
[b] Development [i.e. material economic growth] occurs outside people - in hard reality individuals have little control over it.
3. Can "development" be GIVEN to people ?
[a] People can be given things or material objects - but it is impossible to GIVE them [people-centred] "development". All parents know this in their life-long venture to bring up their own children !
[b] If required people can certainly be given development - in the FORM of material things i.e. goods and services [eg. infrastructure].
4. The "ENGINE" of development
[a] The engine/driver of development lies inside ordinary people viz. in group self-motivation i.e. in the process of people working together to satisfy their own collective and self-defined needs. Thus it is still essentially self-interest BUT the "self" is no longer predominantly individualistic.
[b] The engine/driver of development - seen as economic (GDP) growth - is external to ordinary people viz. macro direct private investment and exports. Individuals have little or no say in guiding these aggregate processes.
5. IMPLEMENTING development
[a] To implement SUSTAINABLE people-centred [and eco-sensitive] development effectively will require the active promotion of greater SELF-RELIANCE at all levels of society but especially for local communities. A major political implication is structuring deep-going processes of participation for all affected parties, including government i.e. highly devolved decision-making - in support of the principle of subsidiarity.
[b] The key implementation issue is to create a favourable climate for economic growth - via private investment and exports. This task has to be driven by the objective requirements or dictates of markets and nation states - a feature that is simply part of the basic workings of an efficient market-driven industrial economy. In turn, such impersonal "rules of the game" must perforce also apply in the major modern-day movement towards globalisation.