The nature of development and its primary concerns vary from time to time. The issues that were considered as most significant in past may not be a part of today’s key concerns. As the world crosses the premises of a new millennium, the nature of global development has considerably changed. In such a crucial time, it is mandatory to have an availability of such a model of development that copes with the increasing demands of the world in the field of science technology, health, security, economy and politics.
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To effectively deal with the current situation, such a model or theory should not only identify the demands of the contemporary world but should also strive to provide solutions to these problems. This paper discusses the key elements that should be considered while designing a theory of global development in the twenty first century.
Starting with the introduction of global development and the major aspects o of global development in the twenty first century, the paper delves into the elucidation of major concerns of the global development which involve the increasing role of globalization, changing roles of the nations and alteration in the concept of statehood, relation of national development with the global progress, role of development in empowerment and the future of the world in the light of the current global trends. The paper ends with a note on the need of having a rational and balanced approach while designing any theory of global development in the twenty first century.
Global development or International development is a phenomenon vast enough to comprise of any particular definition or ideas to be tackled with. But still there is a consensus on the major key issues that involve health, human dignity, poverty, equal participation in decision making, sustainability (that takes account of economic, social an environmental factors of development) and capacity building. These developmental issues are decided by all the nations with their participation in the United Nations. Since the global developmental issues change from time to time, the United Nations keeps on introducing new goals.
With the entrance into the twenty first century, the nature of these issues have considerably changed thereby giving rise to the Millennium Declaration. Signed by the world’s leaders from 189 countries in the year 2000, the declaration aims at achieving the millennium development goals by the year 2015. The first goal in this report stresses the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. The second goal is the attainment of universal primary education without any discrimination for any particular part of the world. The third goal of this agenda is the promotion of gender equality and attempts for the empowerment of women. The fourth goal is to reduce the rate of child mortality which is directly related to the next goal of improving maternal health conditions. The sixth goal is to fight the diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria etc. The seventh goal is to maintain the environmental sustainability and the last goal stresses the importance of global partnership between nations (UN, 2007). Together all these goals mark the agenda of global development in the twenty first century.
The Concept of Development
“While the student may initially be informed that development is about the betterment of human kind through the alleviation of poverty and the realization of human potential, he or she quickly discovers that there also exists ‘good’ and ‘bad’ development, as well as ‘under’ and ‘over’ development. Development can be ‘autonomous, ‘ ‘appropriate, ‘ ‘gender-conscious, ‘ ‘sustainable, ‘ or the opposite of all these (Crush1995, p. 27).”
As clear from the excerpt above, the concept of development is not pre-defined and varies from place to place. The concept of development cannot be confined to any one aspect of life. It is because of this fact that different countries have different priorities concerning the developmental policies. The reason behind this change is their current need which is planned to be fulfilled by the developmental policies. For economically weaker states development may mean economic growth whereas for the richer states, the same concept may stand for tackling with the issues of gender equality. However, when talking about global development, all these issues are considered significant though priority is given to those faced by the majority of nations.
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Approaches towards Global Development
Adam Szirmai in the first chapter ‘Developing countries and the concept of development’ of his book discuses two approaches (given by Myint) towards development of nations that further mark the global development. The first of these approaches is ‘The fight against poverty approach’ with a major concern for the developing countries. This approach involves tackling with the issues like that of widespread poverty, hunger and misery in developing countries.
The second approach is that of ‘The analysis of long-term economic and social development’. This approach is comparative and brings forth the comparison drawn between different countries, regions and historical periods. The major reason behind this comparative study is to chalk out the key factors that mark the development of nations and then to implement the same techniques in the present situation (2005, p.2).
Aspects of Global Development
Considering the two approaches mentioned above, there appear a number of aspects to be tackled with the concept of development. There exist different aspects of development, each tackling with a different field of life. For instance, the social development concerns with the issues of security and health. Regarding the former element on the global level is a debate about the nuclear proliferation and the maintenance of world peace.
On the other hand the latter deals with the issues of health and hygiene. Economically, development stands for the increased capital gains and smooth flow of the supply and demand cycle. In a global developmental scenario, the economic development stands for the equal benefits of the increased free trade shared by all the nations irrespective of their size. In terms of global ecological development, the key concerns involve the protection of environment by increasing forestation and steps towards the conservation of natural resources. This is done by the process of recycling and a balanced approach while exploiting these resources.
Development when discussed in a political frame of thought refers to the distribution of power and the attainment of goals. This further involves the concepts of nation-state and sovereignty in the global scenario (Hardee, 2004). The development in education involves an access of more and more children to the basic right of education. It also includes the major reforms in the field of education. For instance the shift of theory based education to practice based education and the change from Grammar Translation methods to the Direct method.
Global Development and the Twenty First Century
To critically analyze the core concerns of any theory of global development adjusting with the current scenario, it is mandatory to have an understanding of development in the twenty first century. Global development refers to the positive changes across the globe as a result of approaching more and more opportunities by the globalization process. Once considered to be measured with the rate of GDP of nations, the concept of development has widely broadened in the contemporary world.
Apart from the economic stability, the development is also marked in terms of maintenance of education and health etc. The reasoning behind involving them as a part of the over all development is the fact that the health and education when improved add to the over all output of nations. Concerning the global development, the key elements under consideration are not only poverty and economic position but also the advancement in technology, health and education of the people across the world.
Seeing in a political frame of thought, the concept of global development also involves the attainment of basic rights like birth rights and civil rights. Stated differently, a nation bereft of freedom and basic human rights poses a threat to global development because ‘in a regime without a free press, millions of people can starve, even starve to death, without public outrage mobilizing efforts to save them’ (Stiglitz).
Today with the world experiencing rapid progress in every walk of life, what remains out of cynosure for many is the undercurrent of this development for the lower and middle wage earners. According to Frans Doorman in his book ‘Global Development’, poverty continue to rise with the rise in global development as more and more people are either getting unemployed or under employed with the fall of every day (1993, p.5). ‘World Development Indicators 2004’ by World Bank provides 800 indicators of global development for 152 economies. Few of the most important indicators involve the basic health conditions (specially for the women), rate of employment, extent of poverty, distribution of income and consumption, security conditions, educational opportunities and the school enrolment ratios and prevalence of HIV aids etc. (2004).
Major Issues of Global Development in the Twenty First Century
As the world enters in to the twenty first century the issues related to the global development comprises of a number of problems faced by the global community today. Analysts point out different issues in terms of their priority. Still there are a few aspects of the world that are agreed to be the key issues of global development. According to Frans Doorman, the global developmental issues largely pertain to the position of the third world countries with special importance to their poverty. It is because without the well being of these nations the attainment of positive global development is not possible.
Another key issue is whether the world would be able to progress in such a way that the economy of nations is elevated without negatively affecting the economic position of any other nation and without exacerbating their social conditions. Globalization is also considered as key aspect of global development with a speculation whether the increasing globalization would equally benefit the weak and the strong. Environmental issues are also given ample space in deciding whether the global development is moving in a positive direction or not. In this regard, the major concern of the analysts is whether the global development is protecting the environment without negatively affecting the economic growth.
This speculation is basically made in the light of increasing industrial development as the key to stabilizing the nations economically which has also shifted the focus away from agriculture sector (Doorman). With myriads of concerns as the necessary of part of any global development framework, what remains a viable solution is to focus on the most critical of all these issues. Some of these issues are as follows,
The Changing Role of the State in Global Development
As perceived by Waters, “If globalisation in its most complete sense takes effect then the nation-state will be its chief victim (Shaneland).”
Global development is a worldwide phenomenon with its repercussions for all the states in the world. Although considered to be a herald of unending positive changes by its proponents, it is often perceived as a way of growing interdependence of the states on one another by the critics. According to Guido Bertucci and Adriana Alberti there are four driving forces behind interdependence. These are :
- trade and investment liberalization;
- technological innovation and the reduction of communication costs;
- entrepreneurship; and
- global social networks, all being the instruments of global development (p.1).
With the lifting of trade barriers as a result of Free Trade policy of the World Trade Organization and increasing flow of technology across borders, individuals from different countries are crossing their borders to enter into the other countries to hunt for opportunities and are constantly being exposed to the foreign cultures and issues. This has started diminishing the borders between nations thereby threatening the concept of statehood. As a result ‘greater economic and social interdependence seem to affect national decision-making’ thereby making the concept of state obsolete (Bertucci & Alberti, p.9).
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In this concern many propose the existence of a global authority that is ruling the nations by meddling in the state affairs. The instruments of such a global authority are considered to be the present world’s organizations. This means that at one hand the states are losing their role within their territories and at the other hand they are not having a considerable role in the global community (Shaneland).
According to the paper “Is there a future for the nation-state in an era of globalisation? If so, what future?” provided by Shaneland, there are three basic challenges that the nations are to face as a result of global development shaped by rapid globalization. These include
- a reduced ability of the state to exert influence on its economy in the times when economic transactions are increasingly taking place on a global level which is considerably due to the trend of free trade;
- an augmentation of trans-national bodies. These bodies are political (for instance the UN), economic (like NAFTA), a combination of the two (like the EU) and even the Non Governmental Organizations
- the establishment of global ruling organizations. Often termed as the super-national and sub-national centres of power, they include bodies like United Nations. The same author believes that in such a scenario the role of state has shifted from being the ‘primary unit of international relations to being a provider of public goods and infrastructure to global businesses’.
However many believe that the concept of border less states is misleading. In this regard Bertucci & Alberti present a rather moderate approach in which they consider two types of world, one being viewed in the light anti-globalists where the borders of states have turned obsolete and the other seen with the view of pro-globalists in which even after the increasing global development the borders count for the people. In this concern they consider the latter approach to be more rational where globalization may require that the State improve its capacity to deal with greater openness, but it does not seem to undermine its size nor its fundamental role within the national and international landscapes (ibid, p.11). Keeping in mind the dual perspectives of global development on the role of nations and the potential of globalization to rise or befall the nations, the duality should be considered as an important aspect of any theory that is to be designed for the trends of global development in the present century.
The State, Hegemony and the Global Development
Since the last world war, the United Stated has been enjoying the position of a solitary world leader. Because the hegemony of the United States is considered to have broadened from its own territory to across the globe, the study of its current power and position remains a key issue for any theoretical framework dealing with the phenomenon of global development in the twenty first century.
“There already are indications that things are changing: American hegemony is beginning to wane and new great powers already are in the process of emerging (Layne, 2006, p.3).”
As mentioned earlier, since the inception of globalization the role of nations has considerably changed. With the primary concerns like free trade and global democracy, the role of the United States as a solitary hegemonic power is often reckoned by many critics to be debilitating. However the idea may be because of the increasing role of other nations in the global community. For instance China in a matter of few years has come up as an economic giant.
The weakening role of the United States is also evident from the fact that the U.S. dollar once considered as the major currency in the global economy is in a state of constant decline. Also the role of World trade organization as a key instrument of globalization and global development has further brought the hegemony of the United States in doubt with the use of its uniform trade policies for all the nations participating in the international economic trade. Looking from a different point of view, the global development in media has raised voices against the United States pertaining to the country’s invasion in Iraq.
This has weakened the international repute of America thereby resulting in a further debilitating of its hegemonic power. On the other hand, the developing countries are rising as a result of free trade. For the very reason the share of developing countries in global trade market increased from 20% to 25% in the year 2002. Ten of these developing countries doubled their annual income during the same year (Presidents & Prime Ministers, 2002, p. 19).To conclude with, “The reality of globalization is the reality of interdependence (ibid, p.19)” and same falls true for the U.S. too which today is equally dependent on other nations as the other nations are on the U.S.
The National and the Global in Development
When talking about global development, what remains an important moiety is not only the changing roles of the state and debilitating concept of statehood but also the share of all the world’s nations in the over all global development. Therefore, the very participation is considered as one of the core concerns of any theory delving into the trends of global development in the contemporary world.
Often misperceived to be a threat to the nations, process of globalization is equally benefiting the nations as it is bringing a positive global development. The assumption becomes more plausible in the light of China’s analysis during the current era of globalization. According to Peter Drysdale, it is because of China’s access to the global market that it has reached the first rank among the developing countries of Asia.
Exposure to foreign market free of trade barriers has provided with a number of opportunities to enhance the business circle of Chinese companies. In a matter of two decades starting from 1978 to 1997, China doubled its status in terms of its capital gains by elevating to the tenth position from the twentieth rank in the world’s economy (2000, p.66). Such development is not just for the bigger nations but provides equal chances for the developing and under developed nations. Contrary to this, Joseph Stiglitz is o the view that the development rate of developing countries has rather excelled that of the industrial nations.
It is because of this fact that between the years of 1991 and 1995 the growth rate of high-income countries was 2.5 percent, while that of low- and middle-income countries was 4.5 percent. This observation suggests that the phenomenon of global development cannot be separated from that of national development. Since it is the nations that make up a global community, their progress is analogous to the global development.
Globalization and Twenty First Century
When talking about global development, one of the key issues is the prospect of globalization. Since it is through the translocation of innovative goods and services that make the concept of development get freed from the state territory to the nations of the world, global development cannot be separated from globalization. Stated differently, the major driving force behind global development is globalization to such an extent that the two terms can stand analogous to each other.
Often misperceived as a modern idea, history reveals the existence of globalization from the ancient times. Suárez-Orozco and Qin-Hilliard while tracing back the history of globalization have divided its phases in the form of chronological cycles. According to them the first cycle that marked the commencement of globalization started as early as in the later half of the fifteenth century. Like any other phenomenon, globalization too has been ascending across the globe since its inception in the year 1492. Therefore the issues and demands of globalization are different from those faced by the nations in the previous centuries.
Regarding the globalization in the twenty first century, it is believed that there are twp key forces that has changed the nature of global development and has changed the demands of the contemporary world. One development is the invasion of computers in the households and the second one is the emergence of the Internet technology (Bertucci & Alberti, p.3). Unlike past, globalization today has become an overwhelming force of the current times thereby resulting in transitions around the globe. Therefore, in order to survive in the modern world the nations (willingly or unwillingly) have to acquiesce to the principles of globalization.
In the words of Daniel Yergin, “Globalization continues to be a defining characteristic of our times (p.4, 2002).” Globalization is often considered as a complex phenomenon in terms of its multifaceted repercussions but in the present time it has also turned to an unavoidable force. As evident from the above discussion, the role of globalization in global development is overwhelming thereby making it a key concern for any theory of global development that can effectively deal with the current trends of modern world wide development.
Global Development – A Two Edged Sword
It is a datum of experience that at one hand the world is witnessing an epoch of tremendous development and growth of almost every sector whereas on the other hand the poverty rate across the globe continues to rise. This antithetic reality should therefore be presented as a key concern of any global development theory for the twenty first century. It was in the year 1994 that the trend of shortening down the number of employees even with the availability of all the resources started.
In 1994, about 35 million people working in the rich countries like the United States and Europe were registered as out of work thereby making one out of every eighth individual jobless. Since then the rate of jobless people across the globe has been increasing. On the top of all this, the wages of labour have scarcely been increased. This fact brings in notice a loophole in the economic theory that suggests an increase in wages and decrease in poverty as a result of increase in the demand of the product in the market. This has resulted in a gap between productivity and demand which is more evident for the agriculture industries.
Any theory of global development in the current world should not only consider this problem but should also aim at providing a solution. The solution in this regard appears to be the stimulation of demands in the market (Doorman, 1993, p.17). Whatever the means of stimulation may be, it is necessary for any viable theory of global development to consider both the sides of global development. Though elucidated in a more economic context, the nature of duality of global development can best be seen in the reflection of tits duality in the economic world.
Global investment program for sustainable development
Analysts often propose various elements for tackling with all the key issues of the global development in the twenty first century. In this concern Doorman provides a whole model which (according to him) if implemented can generate the best results for dealing with the dual edged sword of the global development. Although primarily proposed to reduce the element of economic instability, the global investment program aims at the over all global development with key issues in mind.
Comprising of five elements, the first component in this regard is to change the economic system in such a way that the natural resources are exploited in a balanced way that calls the importance of energy conservation and environmental protection issues. The second component ascertains the healthy and productive lives of people across the globe. In this regard the youth is prepared with their potential of holding key positions in future and the marginalized adults are aimed at reintegrating in the society.
This component makes the nature of the program more social. The third component aims at the amelioration of the world’s economic and social infrastructure. The former infrastructure involves the advancement in transportation and communication since they play a key role in maintaining a smooth flow of products among the countries. For this smooth transportation, the sub way systems are encouraged to be established since they resist air pollution and maintain environmental quality.
The latter infrastructure includes the provision of better sanitation and changing the urban construction patterns by inoculating houses with low building costs and renovation of older buildings instead of demolishing them since this not only costs more money but also poses a constant threat to the environmental quality. The fourth component of this proposed program aims at the active working of government bureaucracies. It is considered as the most important component since in many circumstances it is the active working of bureaucracies that makes possible the working of the other components. It involves the training of the staff in places like law enforcement agencies and in the education sector. The final component of this program aims at the encouragement and opportunities for conducting research works in the important fields like health, technology and education etc (Doorman, 1993, p. 18 & 19).
Power, Resistance and Development
In the contemporary debate of global development, the issues like power, resistance and development cannot be cornered. It is because of the fact that the development if favoured by its role in power is also resisted by the opposition from various organizations and movements.
Exercising Power through Development
It is a datum of experience that the major attribute of power bearing body is its transcendence in development as compared to its contemporaries. According to the studies of Jane L. Parpart, Shirin M. Rai and Kathleen Staudt in ‘Rethinking empowerment, gender and development’, the term ‘power’ has often been used as an alternative for the developmental approaches. Stated differently, the concept of power cannot be separated from development. According to Keith Rankin in ‘Global Transition; a General Theory of Economic Development’, these are the developmental strategies that make the any body ‘strategic pioneer’ – an innovator with a better idea than the others (2002, p.316).
Social Movements Resisting the Power of Development
Every transition in the world, be it good or bad, is followed by a wave of reactionary measures when few consider it as a blessing while the others reckon it as a source of devastation. Same falls true for the current trends of global development in the twenty first century which at one hand are favoured by a large body of people while on the other hand they are opposed by various individuals who have been raging a war against the modern trends in the form of movements since the last many years.
Therefore any theory harping on the effective dealing of the global development in the twenty first century must provide an ample space to the issues like the hindering forces against global development. As the globalization continues to rise giving an ample chance for every nation to contribute towards global development, there are certain forces that continue to resist the power of global development on the basis of ideological differences. For instance the environmentalists often oppose the idea on the ground of rapid industrial development across the globe. Similarly, nationalists stand against global development since they reckon the globalization as a threat to the sovereignty of nations.
When talking about these hindering forces, socialists and their movements play an instrumental role. One such example in this concern is that of a social movement that was formally launched in Chiapas in the beginning of the year 1994. The Zapatistas was based on the ideology of “liberation theology” and started as a movement against what appeared to be a step towards global development. Around 1994, massive amounts of subsidized corn from the United States were dumped in the domestic market of Mexico. As a result, the domestically produced corn was not preferred by the customer since a cheaper option was available in the form of the imported corn.
Therefore, the major sufferers of this scenario were the farmers whose livelihood considerable depended on the agricultural products like corn. It was to safeguard the rights of these farmers that the concerned movement started and gained a number of supporters with the help of internet (Comrademotopu).
The Future of Development
The twenty first century is considered to be the greatest times of global development with rapid technology spread across the world. In terns of global economic development, the establishment of free market has opened horizons for both the big and small nations equally. This economic development across the globe is further facilitated by the advancement is transportation which has made an easy transfer or goods possible in the global market (Diwan).
At the same time more and more people are being snatched of their basis human rights like education and health. It is because “the benefits of development are not evenly shared, and marginalization remains a real threat for too many” (Presidents & Prime Ministers, 2002, p. 19).The economies of the world continue to flourish whereas the quality of individuals’ life continues to decline. This leaves the issue of global development not only economic and technological but also social.
Economic growth though marks global development but does not guarantee its stability. Therefore in terms of global development the key issue of thinkers remain the hunt of opportunities that can not only maintain the economic growth but can also ameliorate the social conditions of the people’s life. This social aspect of any critical theory of global development should consider the ways of reducing not only poverty from the world but also maintaining peace and good health.
Seeing the phenomenon of global development in a political frame of thought includes the role of states and their future in the coming era of ever increasing global development. In the words of Jessob “states have become involved in the process of internationalization (Shaneland, p. 10 & 11). One of the major issues regarding the future of global development is that of citizenship. Many analysts believe that the national citizenship would change in to global citizenship is the development across the nations with their interdependence continue to fall.
The analysts propose three kinds of reactions by the nations who are considered to be more controlled than controlling. Of these prospects the first ands pessimistic is the absorption of the state thereby making the concept of nation-state obsolete. According to another view, as a result of increasing global development the roe of nation-state has gained an increased importance for the maintenance and evolution of globalisation trends.
Also the nations are considered to be necessary for the organisation stability. The third view regarding the future of nations as a result of global development is rather neutral. The proponents of this view believe that although the role of nation-state is debilitating, the concept of statehood would not diminish but would merge with as an altered entity (32, p.9). This altered shape of nations is considered to be achieved by the process of internationalization.
With all the favours and challenges of global development the idea has turned into a matter of continual discord among the proponents and the opponents. In such a scenario, the only approach of any theory towards global development should be a ‘rational alternative to the search for peaceful global development’ that satisfies both the groups and leaves a positive impact on the world not only in every sphere of life ranging from society and health to economy and technology (Presidents & Prime Ministers, 2002, p.19).
This identifies the need of a theory tackling with all the critical issues pertaining to the global development in such a way that the points of conflicts are dealt with a balanced approach. Keeping in mind the current century’s trends towards global development, it is evident that if most of the rapidly growing forces cannot be stopped, they can be dealt in a moderate approach by ensuring the well being of all the sectors.
Only such a theory that delves into all the above mentioned aspects of global development can effectively transform the world into a better place. In any case otherwise, the standards of life would continue to fall, the poverty rates would keep increasing, education would keep becoming a right of fewer people, peace conditions would continue to exacerbate thereby overwhelming the scene of human existence with the negative implications of the modern development.
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