Truth, Civility, and Consultation Part II

The history of philanthropic movements recounts many instances of people who believe in noble ideals and strive to fulfill their vision of what they think the world ought to look like. One may reasonably ask however, whether what they considered ideal could actually truly be considered a reliable pattern for prosperous order without incorporating the vision and experiences of the people needing ‘development’. Notwithstanding, ‘global developers’ implanted systems of industrial and economic production based on north american models and experience indiscriminately.

The twentieth century saw the collapse of this worldview; its ideals sagged under mounting historical evidence. Development seemed to be struggling as an ideal. Extensive efforts in line with the corrupt core of ideals it cherished met only with results to the contrary. Exacerbated stand all parameters and indices of the severity and profundity of social and economic pathology – 50 years and countless billions of dollars into the movement later.  The undoing of the nuclear family extended into previously untouched rural outreaches, the unprecedented brutality and depravity of criminality, the normalcy of dysfunction at the level of educational systems. The tragic fate of socio-economic development as a western export has eradicated in the global psyche the once-cherished hope that idealistic motives and material resources can correct the problems of planetary civilization. After D-Day and Hiroshima an age of globalization ushered in the consciousness of human interconnectedness and the nobility of co-existent constructiveness. Development emerged as the single most exorbitant and grandiose collective idealism manifest in corporate investment and political discourse to which the human race has ever turned its attention.

Its idealistic naiveté matched its financial and technological investment. Far from narrowing the gap between the minority that enjoys the benefits of western modernization and the vast majority of members of the human family mired in hopeless privation – ironically, the movement towards development that once boasted high hopes has seen the gap widen into an abyss. By its own standards the movement must be judged a disheartening failure, if not a direct contributor to our current predicament.