Development criticism refers to criticisms of modern technology, industrialization, capitalism and economic globalization . A closely related, overlapping concept is anti-modernism. Development critics see modernization as harmful for both humans and the environment. Development-critical movements represent a wide range of critiques, including appeals to tradition, religion, spirituality, environmentalism, aesthetics, pacifism and agrarian virtues.

History and cultureEdit

Happiness is a central theme of development-critical writings.[citation needed] Modern societies, despite their goal-oriented complexity and amount of labour time, do not help people to reach happiness, according to some development critics. In their view, happiness may be harder to reach in modern society than in primitive ones.

Often development critics criticize concepts used in modern societies, such as poverty and other welfare-related conceptualizations such as the human development index and gross national product.[citation needed] They say such concepts make the life of primitive or alternative societies look misleadingly dull to modern people. Modern societies apply subjective standards for welfare universally and (mis)judge other societies by them, for example, greater longevity is seen as an objectively good thing. Development critics often regard attempts to develop non-developed societies as a cause of misery and trouble, and thus recommend that development projects should be cancelled. Some even see the word "development" as negative and think that it represents conceptual imperialism.

Development criticism as a concept is not older than the modern concept of development. However, many thinkers in the past are seen as the precursors of development critics. An early and outspoken critic of the secular aspects of modernism was Pope Pius IX, whose Syllabus of Errors (1864) condemned many aspects of modern culture, including freedom of religion and the separation of church and state; this provoked the Modernist crisis in the Roman Catholic Church. Another famous critic of modern life in the nineteenth century was the writer Henry Thoreau, who preferred living in the woods to living in the city.

The best-known development critic is Mohandas Gandhi, who heavily criticized modern technology and many other characteristics of western culture. Like many other development critics, he recommended local food production for local consumption rather than for trade. Similar thinkers often criticize contemporary globalization.

Development critics are often politically left-leaning[citation needed] and favour such ideas as pacifism and local-level democracy, though there are notable exceptions (for example, Ted Kaczynski supported local-level democracy, while supporting violent revolution against the State to achieve it). Although development critics are mostly humanistic, some are misanthropists who blame human nature for the destruction of the environment.

Some religious organizations, for example, the Roman Catholic Church, have from time to time taken anti-modernist and development-critical stances by criticizing modern technology or other principal characteristics of prevailing societies.[citation needed]

In modern academic discussion, proponents of post-development and other post-modernist lines of thinking have been advocates of development-critical views. Among academic disciplines, development criticism is most closely connected with development studies and anthropology.

Famous development criticsEdit

See also Edit

Development-critical literatureEdit

  • Arturo Escobar: Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World, Princeton University Press 1995, ISBN 0691001022
  • Gilbert Rist, The History of Development: From Western Origins to Global Faith, Expanded Edition, London: Zed Books, 2003, ISBN 1842771817
  • The Development Dictionary: A Guide to Knowledge as Power, ed. by Wolfgang Sachs, London: Zed Books, 1992, ISBN 1856490440
  • Mohandas Gandhi: Hind Swaraj (1909)
  • Ivan Illich: Tools for Conviviality (1973)
  • [Post-Development Reader][1] (Zed Books, ed. Majid Rahnema, 1997), ISBN 1856494748
  • Henry Thoreau: Walden (1854)

External linksEdit

fi:Kehityskritiikki fr:Critique du développement uk:Антимодернізм ru:Антимодернизм sk:Antimodernizmus

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