Beyond 2015: Is Another Development Possible?

Published on The Bullet, Socialist Project’s E-Bulletin no. 1040, by Benjamin Selwyn, Sept 28, 2014.

A we near 2015, the United Nations (UN) will probably set new objectives on behalf of the global community to supersede the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs are held largely by the UN, the World Bank and many anti-poverty campaigners, which I label here the anti-poverty consensus, to have been a success. According to the UN, The First MDG – the objective of halving world poverty between 1990 and 2015 – was achieved already in 2010 … //

… Anti-Poverty Consensus: … //

… Labour-Centred Development:

In The Global Development Crisis I propose the concept of Labour-Centred Development based upon the actions of mass movements. Examples include: struggles by landless workers from Brazil to India to gain access to land; attempts by indigenous communities to protect their natural resources from Multi-National companies; mass protests by industrial labourers in China and by South African miners for living wages and improved working conditions; and unemployed workers in Argentina and elsewhere in Latin America taking over and running factories rather than face a life of unemployment and insecurity.

There are examples of attempts at labour-centred development the world over. Each one contains the seed of an alternative mode of human development to that proposed by the anti-poverty consensus. However, they face repression by states and private armies, demonization in the media, and are ignored in much of the professional development studies literature. This is because they potentially threaten the elite view of the world that prioritises economic growth and wealth concentration over real human development.

These movements embody ideas of development based upon using existing wealth to eliminate poverty and to enhance human abilities and choices, directing production toward human need rather than profit, of sharing and reducing working hours, and ultimately, economic democracy.

These social movements have another thing in their favour compared to the global anti-poverty industry. They are part of the mass of the world’s labouring class, whilst the anti-poverty consensus is led by, and serves, the interests of the world’s elites. But this is why the latter require doublethink – to mask their own self-interest as part of a global common interest. •

Benjamin Selwyn teaches at the University of Sussex and is Visiting Professor in the department of Political Science, York University, Toronto, and is the author of The Global Development Crisis (Polity: 2014).

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Related Links:

more about Eliminating Poverty:

Some Related Websites:

Millennium Development Goals MDG:

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