What is development for? :: 2010.10.15 17:33

Interesting editorial (What is development for?) from the Guardian, and the report referred to in the article (Wholly Living: A New Perspective on International Development)

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Quotes from the Executive Summary:

Too many people around the world are prevented from contributing all they might to the common good. Poverty, sickness, insecurity, ignorance, vulnerability, and powerlessness prevent millions in the developing world from being able to exercise their creativity, productivity and generosity. At the same time, whereas few people in developed countries die of malnutrition, it is increasingly clear that job insecurity, overwork, consumerism, anti-social behaviour and family dislocation prevent the inhabitants of rich nations from living well. We need to rediscover what it means to flourish as a human being if we hope to tackle these major problems.

This report argues that political and economic thought, particularly as it relates to international development, is founded on an inadequate and ultimately harmful vision of what it means to flourish, a vision that is  ndamentally acquisitive. It contends that we desperately need to regain a fuller, more realistic vision of human flourishing – of humans as creative, productive, responsible, generous beings – if we are ever to address the problems of poverty, inequality and environmental degradation that threaten the world. It is focussed primarily on international development and on UK policies that affect the developing world. It recognises, however, that there are also concerns with the social health of many developed nations, including the UK, and that the need to rethink policy so that it aids rather than damages human flourishing applies just as much to domestic as it does to international politics.

Wholly Living works from the premise that politics is about more than economics and that life is about more than quarterly growth figures. It acknowledges that there is no such thing as morally-neutral politics, that every significant policy has an ethical content and that, ultimately, our ethics rests on our view of the world. And it recognises that it is no longer possible, if it ever was, to think about national politics in isolation from
global issues