IntroductionPost development theoryarose as a direct reaction to the epic fails of development and the differentcriticisms voiced against the theories and projects of development. Postdevelopment theory holds that development is socially constructed by the Westto implement western interests and so “development theories” automatically putswestern states as the role models of development and as advanced or progressivestates while the south as primitive, backward and degenerate.
This essay is divided infive parts. The first part defines development, the second part introduces postdevelopment, history, argument and explores the criticisms made againstdevelopment, the third part criticises post development, the fourth partadvances the alternatives to development and the fifth part concludes the essay.The essay interacts with literature and theorists significant to the topic.Development is Dead! In common parlance, development is defined aschange, growth or something advancing.
It is synonymous with the word growth (Dictionary2008).In our daily lives, we often hear the word “development” and when used in astate or society it is synonymous with how much growth or how the state hasadvanced or changed, usually measured in a year or couple of years. Asdevelopment is linked to growth, its commonest measurement is the grossdomestic product.Development theoriesconsists of a group of theories defining how best society can be advanced. Thesetheories have different justifications for why or how a state develops fasterthan another or why a state is rich or poor. Examples of such theories include;Modernization, Rostow’s Stages of Growth, Structuralism, Dependency Theory,Basic Needs Theory, Neoclassical Theory etc (Pieterse2010).The buzzword”development” became extremely popularised in 1949 with President Truman’sdeclaration “The old imperialism, exploitation for foreign profit-has no placein our plan.
What we envisage is a program of development based on the conceptsof democratic fair dealings”(Truman1949).Development has been questioned, criticized and with these critiques, the postdevelopment theory has been developed. According to Arturo Escobar developmentis dead, has failed and there are few other alternatives to development (Escobar1992).Wolfgang Sachs says that development is totally ruined and should be dismantled(Wolfgang1992).Development or “WesternModernity” as Post development theorist call it are popularised through thefunctioning of international organizations, universities and local developmentagencies, through foreign aids and grants, the developing nations owe more and becomeeven more exploited. They are turned into puppets and must bend to every whimof their western benefactor. The western model of development is perpetratedand multiplied thereby helping the West to control and direct its outcomes andso development fails even more as inequities persists.
Post Development, History and TheoryThe post developmenttheory criticises “development” as reflecting the Western-Northern hegemonyover the rest of the world and can be traced to the 1980’s and 1990’s. This theory says no to development theory ongrounds that the knowledge, approach, conception and perception are westernwithout recourse to knowledge, approach, conception and perceptions from thesouth (Escobar2016).Post development theorists like Wolfgang Sachs, Arturo Escobar, Ivan Lilich,James Ferguson, Majid Rahnema, Serge Latouche, Gilbert Rist and other notabledevelopment theorists draw from the work of Micheal Focault.Ziai citing WolfgangSachs gives four reasons why the era of development has ended; i.
Evidencethat the ecological consequences of the developed way of life in terms ofresource consumption and environmental destruction were such that this waycannot be treated as a model to be replicated ii. After the end of world war, there was nogeographical motivation for the west to uphold the promise of development tocountries in the south iii. Theincreasing gap between the rich and poor countries during the developmentdecades had rendered the promise implausible iv. Morepeople would realize that successful development entailed the westernization ofthe world, leading to a global monoculture (Ziai 2007).These theorists positthat “development” is defined and has its root in colonialism. It has neverworked as it is unjust, and is a failure. The post development schoolcriticises development as being ethnocentric (Eurocentric) and universalist andare modelled according to western ideas of industrialization.
These ideas areunsustainable in the south because it is ineffective when applied as it doesnot take into consideration the culture, history and context of the people whenapplied (Wolfgang1992).According to MajidRahnema “Helena Norbeg mentions how the notion of poverty hardly existed inLadakh, when she visited that country for the first time in 1975. Today shesays, it has become part of the language. When visiting an outlying village,some eight years ago, Helena asked a young Ladakhi where were the pooresthouses. We have no poor houses in our village was the proud reply. Recently,Helena saw the same Ladakhi talking to an American tourist and overheard himsay, if only you could do something for us, we are so poor”(Majidand Sachs 1997). This is in sync with currentreality.
Lately the media has beenawash with news of immigrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe,because they have been taught directly or indirectly that the land is greenerin Europe. While trying to get to Europe, some of the immigrants get drowned atsea, raped, they even prepare to get raped by taking contraceptives before theyembark on the journey, if they survive that they get sold for as little asbetween $400-$700 dollars (slave trade in Libya) (Silas2017).An immigrant was interviewed in Nigeria when she returned from Libya, she saidshe was persuaded by her mother to try and cross to Europe and find a job nomatter what (Rilwan 2017).Post developmenttheorists challenge a single path to development and promote more plural ideasof development encapsulating diverse cultures and priorities. Whilstcriticising development school, it proposes alternatives to development devoidof only western exclusive theories but theories more inclusive andcomprehensive especially of the cultures, histories of