Monday, September 10, 2007
The critique on development by Wallerstein is a take on the historical evolution of the capitalist world-economy to clarify what is meant with the term “development,” the thing that in fact developed, the driving force that causes development, the means through which development can occur, and the political repercussions of all these. Finally, using the evolution as basis, development will be determined whether it is lodestar, or achievable, or illusion, or non-achievable.
With development, one can associate it with an organic evolution in which an organism begins, grows and then dies. However, it is a different thing altogether for national or state development. With this kind of development, there is a linear projection that leads to infinity. While infinity cannot be reached, the desire for more can be. This is true of the kind of development present in the First World wherein they have more material wealth that can be translated into social developments such as more stable democracy, longevity of life, literacy, among others. While some nations like the United States are suffering different degrees of economic recession, the fact is that their development only slows down, but they are far from having an organic death. Meanwhile, underdeveloped countries like the Philippines have less (hence, the economic label) and so, it is still working to achieve what “more” the developed countries have at present.
The demand for development was about the greater internal equality or social transformation and about the economic growth in pursuit of what economic leaders have established. These driving forces of development have actually caused varying degrees of social transformation for the developed countries. Some capitalist economies were able to accelerate the literacy of their people. Some were able to prolong the lives of their people by bringing access to health care closer to them. Some have been able to offer cleaner elections, to eliminate violations to human rights and to redress labor problems. But this is not true to all developed countries. Newly-industrialized countries do not necessarily have better standards for democracy. Underdeveloped countries remain victimized by capitalist countries that erect multinational companies in neocolonies and get away with surpluses instead of the money being used for national development.
Hence, development is practically an illusion because of, say, the decadent effects of capitalism in underdeveloped countries and the greedy pursuit of developed countries to have more at the expense of the third World. While it can still be a lodestar by way of extending fulfillment beyond the selves of developed nations, it will remain a dream for as long as developed countries exploit the capital’s surpluses for their own selfish sake.