Development Theory Essay examples

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Development theories are as complex as the process itself. One major thread that appears in multiple seminal development texts, however, is responsibility. The question ‘Who’s fault is it that we are in this pickle?’ is critical to determining the response to this pickle, and so should be quickly followed by ‘And who’s job is it to get us out?’ The answers to where blame and responsibility lie – with the developed or the developing world, or somewhere in between – often depends on who is writing, and when. In Social Change and Development, Alvin So elegantly summarizes the three major development theories at the time of publication: Modernization, Dependency, and World System. Using these three lenses, we see three very …show more content…
We could outline a similar structure in the approaches to foreign aid across the three theories. Modernization believes it is the developed world’s job to provide it, Dependency believes the developing world should eschew it, and World System suggests that aid should work within the complexities of the integrated parts. At base, ‘aid’ is a fancy word for ‘charity.’ We won’t plumb the religious roots of this concept, but we should distinguish several defining characteristics of charity. First, charity comes with no expectation of thanks, but also no expectation of results, no accountability. Second, because of this mentality, as soon as the charity is given, the giver is absolved of all responsibility; he has done his part by giving at all. Third, because charity is given with no expectations of results, there is no ownership of benefit on the part of the receiver; constructive buy-in on the receiver’s part is rarely considered. Unexamined charity then creates a mentality of uncomplicated do-gooding on the part of the giver, and instills a mindset of need and helplessness on the part of the receiver. Scaled to the level of foreign aid, these mindsets have detrimental and debilitating repercussions. While there is evidence that ending all foreign aid can have positive effects on developing nations, to do so

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