Anti-development thesis

After the WWII, European reconstruction was undertaken under ‘Marshall Plan’ to rebuild war-devastated economies of European countries. This became prevailing western model of development -   development through aid.

Keynesian philosophy of state led development and United Nations support further set context for development administration.

The western countries started the path of ‘Development’ in developing countries assuming and claiming that there was ‘underdevelopment’ in these countries and they were to be led on the path of development administration in order to be modernized which was similar to be westernized.  This model of development was more capital intensive and technology centered and wanted to improve the techno-managerial aspect of administration.

This approach was countered by anti-developmental theorists. Anti-development supporters argue that it is not the matter of identifying most efficient way of delivering development but they questioned the very concept of development. Traditionally development meant economic growth but scholars had begun to define it ‘in terms of human values: quality of life, distribution, satisfaction of basic needs.’


They opined that the real aim of western development is linked to modernization which is basically a way of increasing dependency of developing countries on of western world. Development processes undermine and destroy the diversity of social, cultural, economic and political systems. This diversity is replaced by externally imposed homogeneous model of society. They focus on more and more production leading to more and more profit. This has resulted in severe exploitation of earth’s natural resources. The financial costs have been enormous putting many countries into long term debt. A large number of people have been displaced from their homes due to the construction big dams, industrial and mining activities.

They out rightly reject the western model of development administration. They are not anti-development per se. They say that there is no fixed approach to develop a country. This theory explores alternative ways of resource management, development of native industries, identification of local needs, micro planning and sustainable development. It advocates for a strong involvement of civil society and community based organisations. It is a bottom up approach to development unlike the western model in which solutions were imposed from above without understanding the ground realities.

Green Belt movement, Chipko Andolan, movement against corporate sector on overuse of ground water are some of the examples of anti-development approach.

Although the post WWII development endeavor may be obsolete but the goal of improving people’s life must not be abandoned.

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  Posted on Monday, October 12th, 2015 at 8:31 AM under   Polity