Page 36

Global 21 fourth quarter 2015

Arena Development Crisis in development There has been unprecedented human progress in the world over the last few decades. But can we be sure that this trend will continue? Is there a chance development will start to reverse? Rae Lesser Blumberg and Samuel Cohn Development is good for human welfare, but it leaves victims. Economic development has increased the standard of living for the people of the world – greater production of goods and services has increased the number of jobs and increased the wages for those jobs. In a famous study of 62 lessdeveloped nations in 1994, Glenn Firebaugh and Frank Beck of Pennsylvania State University found that GNP was the most important determinant of levels of hunger (measured by average caloric intake) and of health (measured by three different measures of life expectancy). Even if local elites seize a disproportionate share of the financial returns from economic growth, enough trickles down to the masses to make people better fed and to give them longer, more comfortable lives. Another way to promote economic growth and facilitate greater well-being is to economically empower women. Women who not only earn but also control income and economic resources contribute directly to national income growth, while also tending to spend their income in ways that increase the health and human capital of both their own children and the population as a whole. However, all economic processes have their dark sides. New productive industries drive out old traditional craftworkers who have no place to go. Efficient businesses keep prices low through production in sweatshops. Women earn income but often toil in dangerous conditions: in sweatshops in many countries of the global South, making minuscule wages that often are cut further for allegedly flawed work, or exposed to strong pesticides cultivating and processing non-traditional agricultural exports, from flowers to broccoli. Super-farms (and mega-dams) are created by driving smallholding peasants off the land – leaving them to migrate to slums to work in menial employment. The expansion of resource extraction into © Giulio Napolitano / Shutterstock.com four 34 l www.global -br ief ing.org th quar ter 2015 global 34 l www.global -br ief ing.org global four th quar ter 2015


Global 21 fourth quarter 2015
To see the actual publication please follow the link above