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FOUR PATHWAYS TO DEVELOPMENT • Basic options are translated into specific strategies. No consensus exists, however, as to what strategies should be adopted to pursue development.
The economist Keith Griffin has evaluated six strategies: monetarism, open economy, industrialization, green revolution, redistribution, and socialism. He assesses the performance yielded by each strategy indifferent countries on six registers:
(1) resources utilization and income level; (2) savings, investment, and growth, (3) human capital formation; (4) poverty and inequality; (5) role of the state; and (6) participation, democracy, and freedom. Griffin’s inconclusive findings lead him to declare: There is no best path to development
There is indeed no single best path to development, applicable everywhere and at all times. Nevertheless, there exist four different general orientations that guide the choice of the particular strategies catalogued by Griffin. These are growth, redistribution, Basic Human Needs, and development from tradition.
Growth • Growth strategists aim at maximizing aggregate economic production: their central assumption is that social energies must be galvanized around the task of “creating a bigger pie:
It is useless to redistribute wealth or assets through revolutionary or reform measures, they argue, for this is tantamount to redistributing misery. Their goal is to create new increments of wealth as fast as possible. The principal means for achieving this goal is to marshal domestic savings to the maximum degree, or if these are insufficient, to secure foreign capital in diverse forms (investment, loans, grants) and apply it to productive investment to increase production.
Growth advocates recognize that rapid economic growth results not only from a widened base of productive assets, but also from greater productivity in the utilization of the factors of production. Because they view technology as the greatest single multiplier of productivity, they place great importance on incorporating modern technology to productive processes.
Whatever inequalities result from concentrating on growth are judged by growth strategists to be unavoidable. Either the benefits of growth will trickle down to poor people at some later time or, if they do not, corrective welfare measures to assure equity can be adopted by political authorities.
These measures range from progressive taxation, subsidized food and social services for those unable to pay to social security schemes and safety nets to protect vulnerable and noncompetitive people from the consequences of their failure in economic arenas. Growth proponents however, do not address the problem of how to get welfare policies voted by ruling classes whose economic power gives them a disproportionate voice in political decisions as well.
Redistribution with Growth • Advocates of redistribution with growth adopt the principle that distributive justice-the abolition of mass poverty and great inequities in wealth-cannot result from trickle-down growth processes or form welfare policies.
They contend that equity, together with growth, must be planned as a direct objective of development strategy. Accordingly, the goal of planners and politicians becomes not to maximize economic growth, but to optimize it in the light of parallel equity objectives. Within this paradigm, one finds a changed view of the role attributed to investments in education, job creation, health, and nutrition.
Such investments are not viewed primarily as consumer expenditures but rather as productive investments. Nutritious food and adequate health services, it is claimed, not only improve the living conditions of people benefiting from them; they also add productive wealth to the nation’s work force, leading to decreases in idleness caused by illness or absenteeism and to increased economic demand among the poor classes. Defenders of this approach argue that a fairly high level of economic growth is fully compatible with ethically just performance in domains of distribution. In essence, redistribution is a corrective strategy aimed at making the pursuit of growth less socially destabilizing.
Basic Human Needs • The Basic Human Needs (BHN) approach is an important variant of the redistribution-with-growth model. BHN goes further than redistribution by specifying the quantifiable content of redistribution or equity. For BHN strategists, the priority task of development thus becomes neither to maximize not to optimize aggregate growth, but rather to satisfy a cluster of basic needs felt by the poorest segments of the nation’s population, those lying under some “poverty line”.
This cluster of basic needs includes goods and services relating to nutrition, health, housing, education, and access to jobs. The BHN paradigm also differs from the redistribution-with-growth approach in that it does not necessarily assume that equity is always or necessarily compatible with high rates of economic growth.
If basic needs can be met with little or no growth, so be it, they say; inany event, true development is not measured by growth.
The BHN model of development usually incorporates two additional elements in its policy prescriptions: an emphasis on local and national self-reliance and a preference for styles of decision-making and problem-solving which induce non-elite populations to participate. Thus, although the two notions are conceptually distinct, BHN strategies tend to merge into Alternative Development Strategies (ADS) Alternative development strategies are proposed in order to provide alternatives to approaches based on growth (with little equity), efficiency (with little new job-creation), high levels of resource transfers (which tend to increase dependency), and elitist decision-making (which does not allow poor people to participate in decisions and which often runs roughshod over their cultural values).
Even under the BHN formula, however, the ultimate goals of development are accepted as being those already manifests in industrial nations: economic welfare and improved material conditions for large numbers of people, technological efficiency, and institutional modernity. The distinctive claim made by BHN advocates is that the best means to achieve these goals is to target scarce resources as a first priority toward providing for the poorest.
The masses of poor people, they insist, are the most important development resource, more crucial than favorable climate or fertile soil, mineral deposits or heavy rainfall, abundant capital or sophisticated technology, efficient institutions or a large pool of managerial experts. Once poor people are fed, housed, clothed, and made healthy, it is claimed, they will then work dynamically to achieve the other developmental priorities.
Development from Tradition • The development-from-tradition approach or “endogenous self-determined development” stands as a radical alternative to the three pathways outlined thus far. The central premises of this paradigm states that the goals of genuine development, and not only its means, must not be borrowed from countries already “developed”.
Any such mimetic development is judged to be spurious and distorted. For the defenders of tradition as the values matrix of modernity, the goals of a form of development suited to a particular society should be sought from within the latent dynamism of that society’s value system-its traditional beliefs, its meaning system, its local institutions, networks of solidarity, and popular practices.
Given that culture’s understanding of the significance of life and death, of the meaning of time and frequently of an eternity beyond time, and of how human beings ought to relate to the forces of the cosmos, certain ideal images of the good life and the good society emerge.
Not that modern ideas, behavior, and technology are to be repudiated on principle, but rather that they must be critically examined in instrumental fashion to determine whether or not they can contribute to the sound human development of individuals and communities. Only if change agents from “the modern world” discern, respect, and build on the latent dynamism of traditional values can the modern “cargo” of goods and services they bring prove to be genuinely developmental. • with modern alternatives to see which are more truly developmental.
Traditional values themselves are not immune to criticism, however. Even Gandhi, a staunch champion of development from tradition, in evaluating the caste system or the spiritual authority of Brahmins in India, recognized that modern notions of rational inquiry and democratic equality of persons before the law can lay bare the inhuman characteristics of many ancient practices. It becomes essential, therefore, to confront traditional images of the good life and the good society.