Myths of economic development?

Discussion in 'Economics' started by 1prometheus, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. This is a partially formed idea so it is very open to criticism. In my usual style it is a bit of a rant:

    We have been told time and time again that the people of the world need, "economic development" in order to "rise out of poverty".

    I have never been to china, however my two best friends, as well as a third friend, did go on a three month long journey through the interior of china, and then an equal trip to Vietnam.

    What they found was clean people, wonderful fresh food, and a people that in general seemed happy and content. Certainly, there were some sights that were shocking, such as some treatment they saw of the crippled that was not up to "developed world" standards.

    However, the quality of life did not seem terrible. In fact, there was much to be said for it. I saw a long photo journal of the trips so I was able to relate to what they said. I do not think the people believed they were living in "back breaking, crushing poverty" like we have been told time and time again in the western media. THey seemed, by and large, just fine, and very civilized. They had wonderful food, thriving small businesses, self employment, etc.

    They said they had never ate better and that the trip opened their minds in a profound way.

    Would they benefit from a "western" lifestyle of mass consumption? Food out of a box rather than 100% fresh? Life in a factory/office/cubicle vs. a life primarily outdoors?

    Is our level of consumption even possible for billions more people without completely destroying the planet?

    My point is I wonder if we have been sold a bill of goods. If you look for them you find stories of chinese farmers and communities attempting to defend their generations old lifestyle against state-sponsored, forced development schemes that destroy the lifestyle many chinese have had for so long and force them into factories (how convenient).

    I never would have believed this in the past, say five years ago. However, more and more I begin to question the benevolent nature of the global economy. It could very well be that the real benefit of the "global economy" is that it is a solution to the, "not in my back yard" issue. Sent the pollution, smokestacks, s exploitation, etc, to the OTHER side of the world, so I don't have to see it or think about it.

    The westerner sits in a nice safe office/cubicle and in return gets money for doing practically nothing in many cases, and can then trade this for real products that seemingly arrive out of thin air. The westerner is completely divorced from the requirements of his own consumption and his own basic survival.

    Never thought I would say the above but now I wonder if it is in fact true. Any thoughts??

    Edit I am discussing non-industrial, supposedly impoverished areas of these countries.
  2. S2007S


    I was watching a show just a couple of weeks ago about the Three Gorges Dam in China, while building this dam they had to relocate millions of residents along the area where the damn was going to be, well anyway they showed video of how they lived and communities that were self dependent on their ways of living for who knows how many hundreds of years. If you can some how get the opportunity to watch it you should. It shows exactly what your talking about and how development such as this dam have destroyed the places of what many have called home for hundreds of years.
  3. I will make sure to check it out thank you for bringing this to my attention.
  4. chartman


    I am a Vietnam veteran and I can assure you the people of Vietnam during the war were not concerned about who ruled the government. Their only concern was about the safety of their family and having something to eat. Governments are always the oppresors and war mongers. People are the same worldwide regardless of nationally.
  5. Chartman, thank you for your insight.
  6. If I recall an article from the Economist correctly from years ago, I think it's Bhutan where they say, instead of GDP, focus on GNH (Gross National Happiness). Instead of focusing on growing their economy by any means possible, the goal is to focus on the way of life. It would seem to be a place where the govt is with the people in avoiding "development" that doesn't really improve a person's experience of life.
    While I'm not a hippie, I've benefited from traveling abroad to see what life can be like if not over burdened by consumer crap that nobody wants but has to buy because media programming triggers the mindless consumption. Now, I feel I'm able to use more rationality to determine if I really want that next piece of crap from the store or not. Not so much an issue of money, but the burden of possessing an item and having to deal with it. Most of the crap people buy is not for its functionality but to talk about it and show to other people -- ie waste of time / space / money / brain cycles.
  7. 1p, you stated the reason why imho west world iwll be in depressison and why stimuluses will not work.

    can developing world save the day ?

    maybe thats why all stimulus money ends up there as our leaders already realised via their spy tools that stimulusses not working.

    developing w. people are enthusiastically walking into life of slavery and creating money out of their loans. enough of them at least.....
  8. Welcome to the Dark Side.

    Ultimately this, like many other questions, rests on one's definition of the meaning and purpose of life.
  9. Eight


    People should learn to define what a healthy value system is... I say it's about God, family, healthy food, not destroying the environment and if you can make a buck while doing all that you are probably one of the happier people on the planet...
  10. Yannis posted this video, (thanks).

    Very informative regarding global economy.

    <object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value=";hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src=";hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>
    #10     Dec 12, 2010