March 30, 2010

life in financial markets & general: (part 1) excerpts from gilbert rist's 'the history of development' book

I have just begun reading a book that is an insightful commentary by the author of what he makes out of 'development'. His views are interesting but I will refrain from agreeing or disagreeing with him till much after I have finished reading his book and absorbing clearly all that he has to say.

But I can start giving out, in a series of posts, some brief excerpts that I find interesting. Here is the first instalment:

Excerpts from the 3rd Edition (2009) of 'The History of Development - From Western Origins to Global Faith' book by Gilbert Rist:

In 1996, when the first French edition of this book appeared, it was possible to think that 'development' was running out of steam. The future of the planet and its inhabitants, it seemed, would fro now on be seen in a more pragmatic or 'realistic' manner, far removed from the illusions of the myth of progress and the obsolete nostrums underpinning mainstream economic theory.
This is not how things have turned out. Even if ecological worries temper the once dominant optimism, the fact remains that, in North and South alike, on both left and right of the political spectrum, economic growth is still prescribed as the means to universal improvement, and this is increasing the threat to the global climate as well as the very inequalities whose reduction is held up as the desired goal. The minority who run and profit from the system therefore have no interest in challenging it; they merely assert that, despite all the evidence, wealth can be generalized to everyone on earth. Once people are brought to believe this, injustice can be presented as a merely temporary state of affairs.  ..............

The strength of 'development' discourse comes of its power to seduce, in every sense of the term: to charm, to please, to fascinate, to set dreaming, ut also to abuse, to turn away from the truth, to deceive....
....What sense can we make of the numerous debates which, for nearly fifty years, have offered a solution to the problems that majority destitution poses in the face of minority opulence? How are we to explain this whole phenomenon, which mobilizes not only the hopes of millions but also sizeable financial resources, while appearing to recede like the horizon just as you think you are approaching it?.....

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