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the readings are attached 

From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:56 at 155.247.166.234

From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234
From Global Shadows by Ferguson, James. DOI: 10.1215/9780822387640
Duke University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. Downloaded 29 Apr 2017 01:57 at 155.247.166.234

1

GlobalizingAfrica?

OBSERVATIONS FROM AN

INCONVENIENT CONTINENT

The enormous recent literatureonglobalization so far has had re-

markably little tosayaboutAfrica.Astonishingly, theentireconti-

nent isoftensimplyignoredaltogether,eveninthemostambitious

andostensiblyall-encompassingnarratives.Popularbestsellersthat

seek toexplain thenew‘‘global’’world—whether incelebrationor

critique—havemuch to sayabout thenewly industrializing coun-

tries of Asia, the manufacturing boom in China, the European

Union, the causes of MiddleEastern ‘‘terrorism,’’ jobs gained and

lost in theUnited States, theNorthAmerican Free TradeAgree-

ment (nafta) and its effects in Mexico, and the spread of Dis-

neyland and McDonald’s to France. But they manage to charac-

terize ‘‘the globe’’ and ‘‘the entireworld’’ inways that say almost

nothing at all about a continent of some 800 million people that

takesupfully20percentoftheplanet’s landmass.Academicblock-

bustershavenotbeenverydifferent in this respect. SaskiaSassen’s

Globalization and Its Discontents(1999), for instance,hasnothingto
say aboutAfrica, except to note thatAfricanmigrants sometimes

showupin ‘‘globalcities’’ likeLondonandNewYork. JosephStig-

litz’s influential book, also titled Globalization and Its Discontents
(2003), deals almost entirely with the operations of the Interna-

tionalMonetaryFund(imf) andWorldBank inAsia andEastern

Europe, with only a few pages devoted to the African countries

that have arguably suffered themost from the lethal imf dogma-

tismhe isconcernedaboutdocumenting.1 Fromtheself-described

radical left,meanwhile,MichaelHardtandAntonionNegri’s cele-

brated tome Empire (2001), despite itsnearly 500pagesof text and
abundant concern forwhat theauthors term ‘‘themultitude,’’ can-

not muster even a paragraph’s worth of analysis concerning the

continent. Again and again, it seems, when it comes to global-

ization, Africa just doesn’t fit the story line. It is an inconvenient

case.

This neglect is perhapsunderstandable at the level of real-world

politics. Defenders of neoliberal structural-adjustment programs

naturally findAfrica an inconvenient example; they prefer to talk

aboutAsian tigers andSoutheastAsiandragons, since theyhave a

hard time finding any lions among themanyAfrican nations that

have taken the imf medicine and liberalized their economies in

recent years. ButAfrican examples are equally awkward for those

termed‘‘anti-globalization’’ critics,whooftenequateglobalization

with an expanding capitalism in search of new cheap labor for its

factories andnewmarkets for its consumergoods (stereotypically,

Nike sweatshops and McDonald’s hamburgers). Here, of course,

the inconvenient fact is thatAfrica’shardshipshavevery little todo

withbeingoverrunwithWestern factoriesandconsumergoods. It

is hard to find evidence of the depredations of runaway capitalist

expansion in countries that are begging in vain for foreign invest-

mentofanykindandunable toprovideasignificantmarket for the

consumer goods stereotypically associatedwithglobalization.

But if Africa is an awkward case for globalization’s polemical

boosters and detractors, it seems equally inconvenient for more

analytical theorists of globalization,whoaspire toplanetary ‘‘cov-

erage’’ but somehow do not quite know what to do with Africa

(cf.Paolini1997).Here,AnthonyGiddens’sapproachistypical.He

begins his short bookof lectures onglobalization (Giddens 2002)

with an anecdote that claims a planetwide scope for the analysis

to follow.A friend,he explains,was conductingfieldwork in avil-

lagewhose locationhedescribesonlyasa ‘‘remotearea’’of ‘‘central

Africa.’’Shewas invitedtoahomeforaneveningofentertainment,

but insteadofthetraditionalpastimessheexpected,shediscovered

26 GlobalizingAfrica?

that the familywas towatch a video of a newHollywoodmovie

that at that point ‘‘hadn’t even reached the cinemas in London’’

(Giddens 2002: 24). The point, clearly, is that even the ends of

the earth—that is, the remotest villages of (what is identifiedonly

as) ‘‘central Africa’’—are today swept up within a globalized so-

cial order.Yet the rest ofGiddens’s book does notmake somuch

as a passing reference to Africa. Instead, the narrative repeatedly

describes theworld in termsof a traditional ‘‘before’’ andaglobal-

ized ‘‘after’’ that leavesnoplace formostcontemporaryAfricanso-

cial realities except in the putative past.The collaborative volume

onglobalizationbyDavidHeld,AnthonyMcGrew,DavidGold-

blatt,andJonathanPerraton(1999)isamorescholarlyaccount,but

it builds on a similar slippage. The volume’s introduction claims

to explicate a globalization explicitly defined bywhat the authors

term ‘‘worldwide interconnectedness’’ (Held et al. 1999: 2; empha-
sismine), but this is followed by substantive chapters that are ex-

plicitly restricted to what they call ‘‘states in advanced capitalist

societies’’ (and it soonbecomes clear thatAfrican societies arenot

‘‘advanced’’enoughtoqualify). Interconnectednessamongsixrich

countries is documentedmost effectively, but the reader is left to

wonderwhat, exactly, is ‘‘worldwide’’ about it.

Africa’s inconvenience isnot surprising ifweconsider thatmost

of thedominant theoriesofglobalizationhavebeentheoriesabout

worldwide convergence of one sort or another. From the earli-
est European projects of colonization to the latest structural-

adjustment programs, Africa has proved remarkably resistant to

a range of externally imposed projects that have aimed to bring

it into conformity with Western or ‘‘global’’ models. It is strik-

ing thatAfrica today is the onlyworld regionwhere onewill find

hugepopulated swathsof theearth that areunder theeffective au-

thorityof no central, nation-state government (includingmost of

the Democratic Republic of the Congo [drc] at present, huge

areasof southernSudan,andnearlyallofSomalia). It isworthem-

phasizing that these are not odd little patches but truly vast areas.

As I like to remind undergraduate students, if you put the map

of Europe inside the drc, with London at thewest coast, Mos-

cow would liewithin the eastern border; in southern Sudan, the

GlobalizingAfrica? 27

area that was until recently out of the reach of even major relief

agencies spannedanareabigger thanFrance.Nor is thisaquestion

of brief or transitorypolitical circumstances.Theweakgripof the

central state in countries like theCongoandAngolagoesback for

manydecades,whilemuchof southernSudanhas beenout of the

controlof itsnationalgovernmentalmostcontinuouslysinceitbe-

cameindependent in1956.Evenwherenation-statesdoenjoysome
measure of effective control of their hinterlands, formal similari-

ties inpolitical institutionsbetraystarkdifferences inactualmodes

of functioning, as recent work on African states (discussed later)

shows.Meanwhile, theproperty laws thatare sometimes taken for

granted as the bedrock of capitalism in itsmost familiar form are

only very precariously institutionalized in many African settings

(asmightbeattestedbya foreign investor inNigeriaoracommer-

cial farmer inZimbabwe). Finally, aswe know, in perhaps a score

ofAfrican countries, a host of standarddevelopment indicators—

fromgdp per capita to access to health care and schooling to life

expectancy—have in recent years been falling, not rising. This is

true not only of countries wracked by war but also of many that

haveseennothingbutpeace.InZambia, for instance—thecountry

Ihave studiedmost—poverty rates are today reckonedat some73

percent.Diseases likemalaria,cholera,andmeaslesareresurgentas

public-health countermeasures have collapsed. School attendance

has dropped below 50 percent in some areas, and the population

is said to be less educated than at any time since independence in

1964. Estimated life expectancy at birth, meanwhile, has fallen—

mostly, but not entirely, due toaids—fromaround 50 in 1980 to

just 32.4 years, the lowest in theworld.2

All of this poses a profound challenge for global convergence

narratives. It does not necessarilymean that such accounts are in

any simpleway ‘‘wrong.’’ Indeed, inmanydomains, convergence

arguments areoften stronger thananthropologists (perhapswish-

fully) allow.But the recenthistoryofAfricadoespose aprofound

challenge to ideas of global economic and political convergence.

If theworld’s societies are truly converging on a single, ‘‘global’’

model, how is it possible to account forAfrica’s different, difficult

trajectory? Is it simplya ‘‘development failure,’’ tobeplaced at the

28 GlobalizingAfrica?

door of morally culpable elites? A ‘‘lag’’ that we need only wait

to seeovercome?Ahorrible accident,predicatedoncontingencies

such as the aids pandemic?What is themeaning—theoretically—
ofwhat presents itself as a vast continental anomaly?

WhererecentglobalizationtheoristshaveaddressedAfrica, ithas

typicallybeenasanegativecase:anexampleof thepriceof the fail-

ure toglobalize, as the imfwouldhave it; a ‘‘global ghetto’’ aban-

doned by capitalism, as the geographerNeil Smith (1997)would

insist;acontinentof ‘‘wastedlives’’ofnousetothecapitalistworld

economy, as ZygmuntBauman (2004) has recently suggested; or

‘‘the black hole of the information society,’’ as Manuel Castells

(2000) would have it. Such negative characterizations risk ignor-

ing the social, political, and institutional specificity of Africa and

reinventingAfrica as a twenty-first-century ‘‘dark continent.’’ For

contemporary Africa is clearly not a featureless void defined only
by its exclusion from the benefits of global capitalism, nor is it an

informational ‘‘blackhole.’’

Instead,Isuggest thatareadingofrecent interdisciplinaryschol-

arshiponAfrica canhelp to reveal thequite specificways inwhich

Africa is, and is not, ‘‘global’’ and thereby shed surprising new

light on our understanding of what ‘‘globalization’’ may mean at

present.What we see (as anthropologists have long insisted) de-

pends onwherewe are looking from.Looking at ‘‘globalization’’

from the vantage point provided by recent research focused on

Africa brings into visibility things that might otherwise be over-

lookedandforcesus tothinkharderabout issues thatmightother-

wise bepassedoveror left unresolved.

Inahighly schematicway, then, this essay reviews insights from

recent Africanist scholarship concerning three elements usually

identified as central aspects of ‘‘globalization’’: first, the question

of culture (and the related question of alternative modernities);

second, ‘‘flows’’ of private capital (especially foreigndirect invest-

ment); andthird, transformations ingovernanceandthechanging

role of the nation-state. It argues that attention to the undoubt-

edly extreme situation in some parts of Africa can help to clarify

what is, and isnot, ‘‘global’’ about thecontemporary transnational

political economy.

GlobalizingAfrica? 29

CULTURE

Anthropologists first confrontednotionsof cultural globalization

in relation to thequestion (or, for anthropologists, the specter) of

cultural homogenization.Whatwas the fate of cultural difference

in aworldwhere fewer and fewer people lived in conditions that

could be understood as those of pristine isolation; aworldwhere

ever increasing proportions of people lived in cities, drove cars,

andwatchedtelevision;aworldwheresuchemblemsofanexpand-

ing U.S. culture as the English language, pop music, blue jeans,

and McDonald’s seemed to be expanding across the globe? Was

the cultural future of theworld a sort of Westernized or Ameri-

canized global monoculture—the ‘‘Coca-Cola-ization’’ of the en-

tireplanet?And if so,whatwas the fateof thedisciplineof anthro-

pology itself in such auniformculturalworld?

Fortunately—at least for the field of anthropology—it soon

emerged that culturalglobalizationwasnota simplematterof ho-

mogenization. As anthropologists like Ulf Hannerz (1987, 1992,

1996)begantoremindus,transnationalexchangesofculturalprod-

ucts, forms, and ideas were hardly a new phenomenon, and ex-

perience showed that such traffic in meaning was not incompat-

iblewithenduringformsofculturaldifference.Culturaldifferences

were produced, thrived, and took on their significancewithin so-

cial relations of interconnection, not in primordial isolation. For

people in Calcutta to drink Coca-Cola would no more spell the

end of Indian culture than the colonial adoption of the Indian

drink tea by Londoners abolished Englishness. And onewas en-

titled towonder, as Clifford Geertz (1994) pointed out, whether

thegreatcuisinesofAsiawerereally inmortaldangerof beingout-

competed by the likes of Kentucky FriedChicken. In fact, a host

of local studies began to show that transnational traffic in mean-

ing lednot to aglobalmonoculture, but to complex formsof cul-

tural creativity—what Hannerz called ‘‘creolization’’—whose re-

sult was not a numbing uniformity but a dynamic ‘‘cut-and-mix’’

world of surprisingborrowings, ironic reinventions, anddazzling

resignifications.

The idea that logically emerged fromthiswas that societies and

cultureswere not to be understood as located along a continuum

30 GlobalizingAfrica?

between a ‘‘premodern’’ tradition, on the one hand, and a Euro-

centrically conceivedmodernityon the other. Instead,ArjunAp-

padurai and others suggested that it was necessary to rethink our

understandings of modernity to take account of the many differ-

ent sorts of modern cultural trajectories that anthropologistswere
documenting. If non-Western cultures were not necessarily non-

modern ones, then it would be necessary to develop a more plu-

ralizedunderstandingofmodernity:notmodernity inthesingular

(where thequestion is,Areyou thereyetornot?)butmodernities

in the plural, a variety of different ways of being modern: ‘‘alter-
nativemodernities’’ (seeAppadurai 1996; Daedalus 2000;Gaonkar
2001;Holston 1999).

This is undoubtedly a very appealing idea, but it immediately

raises anumberofproblems,which critics havenot failed topoint

out.Oneproblemisthemeaningoftheterm‘‘modernity.’’Oncewe

giveupthebenchmarkofasingularmodernity, thenwhatdoesthe

termmean,analytically?IfCameroonianspracticingwitchcraftare

in factbeing ‘‘modern,’’ asPeterGeschiere (1997)has recently sug-

gested, thenonewonders:Whatwouldcountasnon-modern?Or

is everyaspectof thecontemporaryworldbydefinitionmodern—

inwhich case, the term risks losing allmeaning by encompassing

everything.Anothersetofcriticismshaspointedoutthatthefocus

on cultural flows and their creative reinterpretation can lead to an

insufficient appreciationof the force of global norms andof insti-

tutional and organizational domainswhere one does indeed find,

if not homogenization, at least a high degree of standardization.

Sociologistsof education, for instance,have shownsuchstandard-

izationinat least theformalaspectsofschooling(see,e.g.,Boliand

Ramirez1986;Meyeretal. 1992).HereIwanttopoint toaslightly

different problemwith the idea,which derives from theway that

regions matter for themodernitydiscussion.
InEast andSoutheastAsia, the ideaofmultipleor ‘‘alternative’’

tracks throughmodernityhas for someyearshadconsiderablecur-

rency, even outside of academic discussions.There, the pluraliza-

tion of modernity has been linked to the possibility of a parallel

trackalongwhichAsiannationsmightdevelopinawaythatwould

be economically analogous to theWest but culturally distinctive.

SuchnewlyindustrializingAsiancountriesasMalaysia,Singapore,

GlobalizingAfrica? 31

andTaiwan, inthisview,canachieve ‘‘FirstWorld’’economies,and

the superhighways, skyscrapers, and consumer conveniences that

comewith them,without therebybecoming ‘‘Westernized.’’ They

can thus retainwhat are sometimes thought of as cultural or even

racial virtues that theWest lacks,while making their own, ‘‘alter-

native’’way throughmodernity and enjoying a standard of living

equal toor better than that of ‘‘theWest’’ (Ong 1999: 55–83).

In Africa, however, such an economic convergencewith ‘‘First

World’’ living standards hardly seems to be in the offing. For this

reason, a recent tendency for scholars of Africa to adopt the lan-

guage of ‘‘modernities’’ in the plural has very different implica-

tions andproceeds fromdifferentmotives.3 In the face of decades

of scholarship that insisted on seeingAfrican societies as in some

sense located in the ‘‘primitive’’ or ‘‘traditional’’ past, contempo-

raryAfricanistsareunderstandablydrawntoawayofthinkingthat

insists on placingAfrican societies in the same (‘‘coeval’’) time as

theWest (Fabian 1983) andonunderstandingAfricanways of life

not as anahistorical ‘‘tradition,’’ but aspart andparcelof themod-

ernworld. It is this that leadsGeschiere to insist on ‘‘themoder-

nity ofwitchcraft’’: the desire to show thatwhat is called ‘‘witch-

craft’’ is not simply a holdover from the past but, rather, a set of
contemporary practices that respond to such ‘‘modern’’ contem-

porary forces as the cash economy, class formation, and the state.

Mamadou Diouf (2000) makes a related, and similarly convinc-

ing, argument for the ‘‘modernity’’ of the transnational networks

of SenegaleseMourid traders.

Yet in Africa, modernity has always been a matter not simply

of past and present, but also of up and down. The aspiration to

modernityhasbeen an aspiration to rise in theworld in economic

and political terms; to improve one’s way of life, one’s standing,

one’s place-in-the-world.Modernity has thus been away of talk-

ingaboutglobal inequalityandaboutmaterialneedsandhowthey

might be met. In particular, it has indexed specific aspirations to

such primary ‘‘modern’’ goods as improved housing, health care,

andeducation.Yetnow,anthropologists,havingdeclaredmodern-

ization theorydefunct and development discourse passé, proudly

announce that Africa, notwithstanding all its problems, is in fact

32 GlobalizingAfrica?

just as modern as anyplace else. It just has its own, ‘‘alternative’’

versionofmodernity.

As I point out in chapter 7, Africans are often puzzled by such

claims. Africa’s lack of modernity seems, to many people there,
all too palpable in the conditions that surround …

57

A
t no other time in human history has the world been a better place for capitalists. We live
in a world full of investment opportunities—companies, banks, funds, bonds, securities,
and even countries—into which we can put money and from which we can get more

back. These moneymaking machines, such as the Nike corporation, have a ready supply of cheap
labor, capital, raw materials, and advanced technology to assist in making products that people

C h a p t e r

3

From the fifteenth century on, European soldiers and sailors

The Rise and Fall of the Merchant,
Industrialist, and Financier

carried the flags of their rulers to the four corners of the globe,
and European merchants established their storehouses from Vera

Cruz to Nagasaki. Dominating the sealanes of the world, these
merchants invaded existing networks of exchange and linked one to
the other. In the service of “God and profit” they located sources
of products desired in Europe and developed coercive systems for
their delivery. In response, European craft shops, either singly or
aggregated into manufactories, began to produce goods to provi-

sion the wide-ranging military and naval efforts and to furnish
commodities to overseas suppliers in exchange for goods to be

sold as commodities at home. The outcome was the creation of a
commercial network of global scale.

—Eric Wolf, Europe and the People without History

When I think of Indonesia—a country on the Equator with 180 million
people, a median age of 18, and a Moslem ban on alcohol—I feel

I know what heaven looks like.

—Donald R. Keough, President of Coca-Cola

Five years hence, commentators will look back to the birth of the
credit derivative market as a watershed development.

—Blythe Masters, Derivatives Group of J. P. Morgan

58 Part I • The Society of Perpetual Growth

all over the world clamor to buy. Moreover, governments compete for their presence, passing
laws and making treaties to open markets, while maintaining infrastructures (roads, airports,
power utilities, monetary systems, communication networks, etc.) that enable them to manu-
facture products or provide services cheaply and charge prices that remain competitive with
other investments. Nation-states maintain armies to protect investments and ensure that markets
remain open. Educational institutions devote themselves to producing knowledgeable, skilled,
and disciplined workers, while researchers at colleges and universities develop new technolo-
gies to make even better and cheaper products. Our governments, educational institutions, and
mass media encourage people to consume more and more commodities. Citizens arrange their
economic and social lives to accommodate work in the investment machines and to gain access
to the commodities they produce. In return, the investment machines churn out profits that are
reinvested to manufacture more of their particular products or that can be invested in other
enterprises, producing yet more goods and services. Never before have people had so much
opportunity to accumulate great wealth. Among the 400 richest Americans in 1999, 298 of them
were worth a billion dollars or more, and the top 400 had a net worth of $1.2 trillion, about one-
eighth of the total gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States (see Forbes 2000b).

But there are economic, environmental, and social consequences of doing business and
making money. We live in a world in which the gap between the rich and poor is growing,
a world that contains many wealthy and comfortable people and more than 1 billion people
without enough to eat. Then there are the environmental consequences of doing business:
Production uses up the earth’s energy resources and produces damaged environments in return.
There are health consequences as well, not only from damaged environments but also because
those too poor to afford health care often do without it. There are the political consequences of
governments’ using their armed forces to maintain conditions that they believe are favorable for
business and investors. And, finally, there are the occasional economic collapses in which the
economies of whole countries suddenly decline, throwing millions of people out of work and
wiping out vast wealth.

In the long view of human history, these conditions are very recent ones. For most of
human history, people have lived in small, relatively isolated settlements that rarely exceeded
300 or 400 individuals. And until some 10,000 years ago, virtually all of these people lived by
gathering and hunting. Then in some areas of the world, instead of depending on the natural
growth of plant foods and the natural growth and movements of animals, people began to plant
and harvest crops and raise animals themselves. This was not necessarily an advance in human
societies—in fact, in terms of labor, it required human beings to do the work that had been done
largely by nature. The sole advantage of working harder was that the additional labor supported
denser populations. Settlements grew in size until thousands rather than hundreds lived together
in towns and cities. Occupational specialization developed, necessitating trade and communica-
tion between villages, towns, cities, and regions. Political complexity increased, chiefs became
kings, and kings became emperors ruling over vast regions.

Then, approximately 400 or 500 years ago, patterns of travel and communication contrib-
uted to the globalization of trade dominated by “a small peninsula off the landmass of Asia,”
as Eric Wolf called Europe. The domination by one region over others was not new in the
world. There had existed prior to this time civilizations whose influence had spread to influ-
ence those around them—the Mayan civilization in Central America, Greek civilization of the
fourth millennium b.c., Rome of the first and second centuries a.d., and Islamic civilization
of the eighth and ninth centuries. But there was an important difference. The building of these
empires was largely a political process of conquest and military domination, whereas the expan-
sion of Europe, although certainly involving its share of militarism, was largely accomplished by
economic means—by the expansion and control of trade.

Now let’s shift our focus to the development of the capitalist—the merchant, industrialist,
and financier—the person who controls the capital, employs the laborers, and profits from the
consumption of commodities. This will be a long-term, historical look at this development,

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Chapter 3 • The Rise and Fall of the Merchant, Industrialist, and Financier 59

because if we are to understand the global distribution of power and money that exists today and
the origins of the culture of capitalism, knowledge of its history is crucial.

Assume for a time the role of a businessperson, a global merchant, or merchant adventurer,
as they used to be called,1 passing through the world of the past 600 years. We’ll begin search-
ing the globe for ways to make money in the year 1400 and end our search in the year 2013,
taking stock of the changes in the organization and distribution of capital that occurred in that
time. Because we are looking at the world through the eyes of a merchant, there is much that
we will miss—many political developments, religious wars, revolutions, natural catastrophes,
and the like. Because we overlook these events does not mean they did not affect how business
was conducted—in many cases, particularly in the case of war and war debts, they had profound
effects. But our prime concern is with the events that most directly influenced the way in which
business was conducted on a day-to-day basis and how the pursuit of profit by merchant adven-
turers influenced the lives of people all over the world. Our historical tour will concentrate on
five issues:

1. An understanding of how capital came to be concentrated in so few hands and how the
world came to be divided into rich and poor. There were certainly rich people and poor
people in 1400, but today’s vast global disparity between core and periphery did not exist
then. How did the distribution of wealth change, and how did one area of the world come
to dominate the others economically?

2. An understanding of the changes in business organizations and the organization of
capital—that is, who controlled the money? In 1400, most business enterprises were small,
generally family-organized institutions. Capital was controlled by these groups and state
organizations. Today we live in an era of multinational corporations and financial institu-
tions, many whose wealth exceeds that of most countries. We need to trace the evolution
of the power of capital over our lives and the transformation of the merchant of 1400
into the industrialist of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, then into the investor and
financier of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. How and why did these
transformations in the organization of capital come about?

3. The increase in the level of global economic integration. From your perspective as a
merchant adventurer, you obviously want the fewest restraints possible on your ability
to trade from one area of the world to another; the fewer the restrictions, the greater the
opportunity for profit. Such things as a global currency, agreement among nations on
import and export regulations, ease of passage of money and goods from area to area,
and freedom to employ whom you want and to pay the lowest possible wage are all to
your advantage; furthermore, you want few or no government restrictions regarding the
consequences of your business activities. How did the level of global economic inte-
gration increase, and what were the consequences for the merchant adventurer, as well
as others?

4. Fourth, how do we explain the occasional collapse of national and global economies, such
as the one that began in 2007 in the United States and spread to the rest of the world? Not
only do such economic downturns force banks and businesses into bankruptcy, wipe out
trillions of dollars of wealth, and throw millions of people out of work, they also threaten
the stability of governments and the entire foundation of market economies.

5. Most importantly, where did the necessity for perpetual economic growth come from?
That is, how did an economy arise in which people had to spend, earn, and produce more
this year than last and more next year than this, in perpetuity?

With these questions in mind, let’s go back to the world of 1400 and start trading.

1 The name is taken from a sixteenth-century English trading company, The Merchant Adventurers, cloth wholesalers
trading to Holland and Germany with bases of operation in Antwerp and Bergen-op-Zoom and later Hamburg. The
company survived until 1809.

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60 Part I • The Society of Perpetual Growth

The era of The Global Trader

a Trader’s Tour of the World in 1400

If, as global merchants in 1400, we were searching for ways to make money, the best opportuni-
ties would be in long-distance trade, buying goods in one area of the world and selling them in
another (see Braudel 1982:68). If we could choose which among the great cities of the world—
Cairo, Malacca, Samarkand, Venice, and so on—to begin trading, our choice would probably
be Hangchow, China. China in 1400 had a population of 100 million and was the most techno-
logically developed country in the world. Paper was invented in China probably as early as a.d.
700 and block printing as early as 1050. China of 1400 had a thriving iron industry; enormous
amounts of coal were burned to fuel the iron furnaces—the coal used in northern China alone
was equal to 70 percent of what metalworkers in Great Britain used at the beginning of the
eighteenth century. The explosive power of gunpowder was harnessed around a.d. 650 and by
1000 was used by Chinese armies for simple bombs and grenades. Cannons were in use by 1300,
some mounted on the ships of the Chinese navy, and by the fourteenth century, the Chinese were
using a metal-barreled gun that shot explosive pellets (Abu-Lughod 1989:322ff.).

If you were to tour the Chinese countryside, you would have been struck by the networks of
canals and irrigation ditches that crisscrossed the landscape, maintained by wealthy landowners
or the state. China was governed by a royal elite and administered largely by mandarins, people
selected from the wealthy classes and who were exempt from paying taxes. State bureaucrats
were also selected and promoted through civil service examinations open to all but those of
the lowest rank of society (e.g., executioners, slaves, beggars, boat people, actors, and laborers
[Hanson 1993:186]). China produced some of the most desired trade goods in the world, particu-
larly silk, spices, and porcelain.

The economic conditions in China also favored traders. There were guilds and associ-
ations of merchants, such as jewelers; gilders; antique dealers; dealers in honey, ginger, and
boots; money changers; and doctors. China had its own currency system. In the Middle East
and Europe, governments issued money in the form of coins of precious metals whose value
depended on their weight. In China there was not only copper coin but also paper money
(cotton paper stamped with a government seal) to provide merchants with a convenient means
of exchange. Paper money also allowed the state to control the flow of money in and out of
the country. Precious metals, such as gold and silver, could not be used by foreigners in trade,
so foreign traders were forced to exchange their gold or silver for paper money, which they
then exchanged for gold and silver when they left. Because they had usually purchased Chinese
commodities to sell elsewhere, they usually left with less gold and silver than when they arrived
(Abu-Lughod 1989:334).

China was also politically stable. The rulers, members of the Ming Dynasty, had success-
fully rebelled against the Mongols in a.d. 1368. The Mongols, nomadic horsemen who roamed
the vast steppes of Central Asia, conquered China in 1276 and set up their own dynasty, the
Yuan. The Mongols, eager to establish trade with the rest of the world, had created relatively
safe trade routes to the rest of Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. At least at first, the Ming
appeared to want to maintain that trade, sending its impressive navy as emissaries to ports along
the Indian Ocean.

The city of Hangchow was situated between the banks of the Che River leading to the sea
and the shore of an enormous artificial lake. According to Ibn Battuta, an Arab trader who visited
the city in the 1340s, the city extended more than six to seven square miles and was surrounded
by walls with five gateways through which canals passed. Thirteen monumental gates, at which
its great thoroughfares terminated, provided entry to the city. Situated on the hills overlooking
the city were the imperial palace and homes of the wealthy state bureaucrats and merchants; at
the opposite end of the city were the houses of the poor—crowded, narrow-fronted, three- to
five-story houses with workshops on the ground floors. The main thoroughfare, the Imperial
Way, was 3 miles long and 180 feet wide, crowded with carriages drawn by men or tiny horses.

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Chapter 3 • The Rise and Fall of the Merchant, Industrialist, and Financier 61

The city was a trader’s paradise. Inside the city were ten markets as well as teahouses and
restaurants where traders could meet and arrange their business. Outside the city were a fish
market and wholesale markets. Ibn Battuta said it was “the largest city on the face of the earth.”
Sections of the city contained concentrations of merchants from all over the world. Jewish and
Christian traders from Europe were in one; Muslim traders were in another, with bazaars and
mosques, and muezzins calling Muslims to noon prayer. The bazaars of Chinese merchants
and artisans were in yet another section. In brief, Hangchow would have been an ideal place to
sell merchandise from Europe, the Middle East, or other parts of Asia and to purchase goods,
such as spices and silks, that were in demand in other parts of the world.

Silk was particularly desired by foreign traders because its light weight and compactness
made it easy to transport and because China had a virtual monopoly in the silk trade. Syrian
traders had smuggled silkworms out of China in the thirteenth century, and in 1400 one could
purchase silk in India and Italy; but, the quality of Chinese silk was superior. Because the produc-
tion of silk was likely in the hands of Chinese merchants, you would have purchased it directly
from them. You might also purchase Chinese porcelain, especially if you planned to travel by
ship because porcelain could be used as ballast by ships returning to the Middle East or Europe
(see Figure 3.1).

Your next task would be to arrange to transport your goods to where you planned to sell
them. Let’s assume you had orders from merchants in cities such as Venice, Cairo, and Bruges,
where Chinese goods were in demand. Your first task is to get your goods to the Mediterranean.
You could go overland through China, through central Asia to northern India, or to ports on
the Black Sea, then travel to European ports such as Venice and Naples. The trip overland
through Asia to Europe would take you at least 275 days using pack trains—camels over the
deserts, mules through the mountains, ox carts where roads existed, human carriers, and boats.
The overland route was popular in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when the Mongols
had, through their conquests, unified Central Asia and issued safe conduct passes to traders. In
1400, however, with the Empire fragmented, you may have risked raiding by nomadic bands of
Mongol horsemen.

The splendor and
wealth of fifteenth-
and sixteenth-century
China is portrayed
in this engraving of
a mandarin’s terrace
and garden. (Fine Art/
Historical Picture Archive/
Corbis.)

62 Part I • The Society of Perpetual Growth

A safer route in 1400 would have been the sea route, down the east coast of China, through
the Strait of Malacca to Southern India, and then either through the Persian Gulf to Iran and
overland, through Baghdad to the Mediterranean, or through the Red Sea to Cairo, and finally
by ship to Italy.

Traveling through the Strait of Malacca and into Southeast Asia, you would have found
powerful elites ruling states from their royal palaces, surrounded by armed retainers, kin,
artisans, and specialists. Beyond this was a peasantry producing rice to support themselves and
the elites. These were the civilizations that built Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
You would likely have been more at home, however, in the seaports that dotted the Strait of
Malacca, which owed their existence to trade. Occasionally, these ports would merge with inland
kingdoms such as Majapahit in Java. The main city of the area in 1400 was Malacca, founded
by pirates led in rebellion twenty years earlier by a prince from Majapahit. The prince converted
to Islam, attracting to Malacca wealthy Muslim merchants, and by 1400 Malacca was a city of
40,000 to 50,000 people containing traders from sixty-one nations. The Portuguese Tomé Pires,
writing a century later, said, “Whoever is lord of Malacca has his hands on the throat of Venice”
(Wolf 1982:58). While in Malacca, you likely would have obtained additional trade goods to
take West. Spices, particularly cinnamon (at one time in Egypt considered more valuable than
gold), were highly valued because they were easy to transport and brought high profits in the
Middle East and Europe.

From Malacca you probably would have traveled along the coast of Southeast Asia and
on to India, whose wealth in 1400 rivaled that of China. Southeast India had a thriving textile
industry. Farmers grew cotton and passed it on to spinners, who made thread for the weavers.
There is some evidence that merchants provided cotton and thread to spinners and weavers and
paid the artisans for what they produced. There was a sophisticated technology: a vertical loom,
block printing, and the spinning wheel, probably introduced from Turkey. But cotton and textiles
were not the only items you might have obtained in India for trade; there were also dyes, tannins,
spices, oil seed, narcotics, lumber, honey, and ivory (see Wolf 1982).

EUROPE

WEST AFRICA

CHINA

INDIA

EAST AFRICA

EAST INDIES
INCA
EMPIRE

JAPAN

Woolens
Linens
Horses
Wine Silk

Porcelain
Spices
Drugs
Perfumes

Pepper
Cotton
Sugar

CALICUTGold
Slaves
Textiles

Gold
Ivory
Slaves

Cinnamon
Ivory

Spices
ZANZIBAR

MOGADISHU
MALACCA

HANGCHOW

GENOA

CAIRO

SAMARKAND

CONSTANTINOPLE
VENICE

BRUGES

HORMUZ

MECCA

CEYLON

ALEXANDRIA

fiGure 3.1 Major Trade Routes in 1400

Chapter 3 • The Rise and Fall of the Merchant, Industrialist, and Financier 63

From India you might travel to East Africa, where from Bantu-speaking peoples you might
have obtained slaves, ivory, leopard skins, gold from Zimbabwe, and rhinoceros horns (still
believed in some parts of the world to be an aphrodisiac).

Leaving East Africa, you would have journeyed up the coast through the Red Sea to Cairo
or through the Persian Gulf, through Iraq to Baghdad, and on to Constantinople and the Eastern
Mediterranean. You would have found the Islamic countries of the Middle East favorable to
business, with a sophisticated body of law regulating trade, including rules for the formation of
trading partnerships and the extension of credit. One law allowed people to pay for merchan-
dise at a later date at a higher price, a convenient way around the Islamic prohibition of lending
money at interest. Bags of gold coin whose value was printed on the outside, and whose contents
were apparently never checked, served as money. There were bankers who changed money,
took deposits, and issued promissory notes, another way of extending credit and making loans.
Merchants kept their accounts by listing credits and debits. Thus, all the rudiments of a sophisti-
cated economy—capital, credit, banking, money, and account keeping—were present in Islamic
trade (Abu-Lughod 1989:216ff.).

From Cairo you could join a caravan to go south through the Sahara to West Africa, where
textile goods were in demand and where you might obtain slaves or gold. Virtually two-thirds of the
gold circulating in Europe and the Middle East came from West Africa. Or you might travel a short
way to Alexandria, still a major city. From there you would travel by ship on the Mediterranean
to one of the city-states of Italy, such as Venice or Genoa. Italy was the center of European and
Mediterranean trade. At European fairs, Italian traders would set up a bench (banco, from which
bank is derived) with their scales and coins, enabling traders to exchange currency from one area of
the world for another. Italian bankers monopolized the international exchange of money and credit
and pioneered the bill of exchange. This was a document in which a buyer agreed to deliver pay-
ment to a seller at another time and place in the seller’s home currency. In the absence of any widely
recognized currency, the bill of exchange greatly facilitated foreign trade (Abu-Lughod 1989:93).

You might then join other merchants from Genoa, Pisa, and Milan who formed caravans
to take goods—such as silks and spices from the Orient or the Middle East; alum, wax, leather,
and fur from Africa; dates, figs, and honey from Spain; and pepper, feathers, and brazilwood
from the Middle East—over the Alps to the fairs and markets of western and northern Europe, a
trip taking five weeks. Or you could send your goods by ship, through the Mediterranean and the
North Sea to trading centers such as Bruges.

Once you reached northern or western Europe, you had already left the wealthiest part
of the world. After the decline of the Roman Empire, western Europe was a backward area,
exploited for its iron, lumber, and slaves. Urban areas had declined, and artisan activity retreated
to rural areas. Moreover, Europe had been devastated in the fourteenth century by bubonic
plague: In the mid-fourteenth century, Europe’s population was about 80 million (Abu-Lughod
1989:94). By 1400, plague had reduced it by 45 percent, to between 40 million and 50 mil-
lion. The plague likely originated in Central Asia or China. It traveled the trade routes, striking
Chinese cities as early as 1320 and first striking Europe in Caffa, on the Black Sea, in 1346.
It arrived in Alexandria in 1347, probably from Italian ports on the Black Sea. At its height in
Alexandria, it killed 10,000 people a day, finally killing 200,000 of the city’s half-million people.
It struck Italy in 1348, appeared in France and Britain the same year, and reached Germany and
Scandinavia a year later.

Feudalism was still the main form of political and economic organization in Europe. Kings
bestowed lands, or fiefs, to subjects in return for their loyalty and service. Lords “rented” land to
peasants, generally for a share of the produce, which they used to pay tribute to the kings and to
finance their own expenses.

Woolen textiles were the most important products of northern and western Europe in
1400. Flanders (western Belgium and northwest France), the textile center of northern Europe,
had virtually monopolized the purchase of raw wool from England, and woolen textiles from
Flanders were in demand throughout Europe and in other parts of the world.

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64 Part I • The Society of Perpetual Growth

Let’s assume you have sold the commodities you brought from China and realized a hand-
some profit. The question is, What to do with your capital and profits? You might buy Flemish
textiles in Bruges or, depending on the political circumstances, travel to England to buy textiles.
You might buy land or finance other traders in return for a share of their profits. If, however,
you decided to undergo another trade circuit, returning east would be your likely alternative. The
Americas were probably unknown and certainly unreachable. You might have traveled down the
European coast to West Africa, where European textiles were in great demand and where you
could obtain slaves and gold. But while the wind patterns of the Eastern Atlantic would have
carried your ship to West Africa, they made it impossible, given the sailing technology, to return
by sea, and you would be forced to return overland across northern Africa. Your likely trade
route, then, would have been back to Italy and east through the Mediterranean to India, the East
Indies, and China.

What if you had been able to cross the sea to the Americas? What would you have found in
1400? No one left a written record of life in the New World just prior to the arrival of Europeans.
Archaeologists, however, have created a record from what was left behind. You would have
discovered elaborate trade routes extending from South America into North America and the
remains of great civilizations in Central Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula.

The Inca were just beginning their expansion, which would produce the Andean Empire
confronted by Pizarro in 1532. Inca society in 1400 was dominated by the Inca dynasty, an
aristocracy consisting of relatives of the ruling group, local rulers who submitted to Inca rule.
Men of local rank headed endogamous patrilineal clans, or ayllus, groups who traced descent to
a common male ancestor and who were required to marry within their clan. These groups paid
tribute to the Inca aristocracy by working on public projects or in military service. Women spent
much of their time weaving cloth used to repay faithful subjects and imbued with extraordinary
ritual and ceremonial value. The state expanded by colonizing new agricultural lands to grow
maize. It maintained irrigation systems, roads, and a postal service in which runners carried
information from one end of the empire to another. Groups that rebelled against Inca rule were
usually relocated far from their homeland (Wolf 1982:62–63).

If you had traveled into the Brazilian rain forests, you might have encountered peoples
such as the Tupinambá, who lived on small garden plots while gathering and hunting in the
forests. Sixteenth-century traveler Calvinist pastor Jean de Léry concluded that the Tupinambá
lived more comfortably than ordinary people in France (Maybury-Lewis 1997:13).

In Mexico in 1400, the Aztecs were twenty years from establishing their vast empire with
its capital at Tenochtitlán. In the Caribbean there were complex chieftainships with linkages to
the civilizations of Mesoamerica and the Andes. A merchant of 1400 would have been able to
follow trade routes that spread from Mexico into the southeastern and northeastern United States,
encountering descendants of those who archaeologists called the Mississippians. In this society,
goods and commodities were used to indicate status and rank. A trader would have encountered
towns or ceremonial centers focused on great terraced, earthen platforms. The Mississippians
relied on …

DEVELOPMENT and
SOCIAL CHANGE

A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

SIXTH EDITION

PHILIP McMICHAEL
Cornell University

fSAGE
Los Angeles I London I New Delhi

Singapore I Washington DC

A Timeline of Development
WORLD Deveiopmentalism (1940s-1970s)
FRAMEWORK

POLITICAL State-Regulated Markets (Keynesianism)
ECONOMY Public Spending

SOCIAL GOALS Social Contract and Redistribution
National Citizenship

DEVELOPMENT Industrial Replication
[Model] National Economic Sector Complementarity

[Brazil, Mexico, India]

MOBILIZING Nationalism (Post-Colonialism)

TOOL

MECHANISMS Import-Substitution Industrialization (!SI)

Public Investment (Infrastructure, Energy)
Education
Land Reform

VARIANTS First World (Freedom of Enterprise)
Second World (Central Planning)
Third World (Modernization via Development Alliance)

MARKERS Cold War Begins Korean War Vietnam War
(1946) (1950-53) (1964-75)

~retton Marshall Plan Alliance for Progress
‘woods (1946) (1961)
,(1944)

Uajted Nations Non-Aligned Group of World
(1943) Movement Forum 77 (G-77) Economic

(1955) (1964) Forum (1970)

T •

FIRST DEVELOPMENT SECOND DEVELOPMENT
DECADE DECADE

1940. 1950 1960 1970

INSTITUTIONAL
DEVELOPMENTS

I ~odd
Bank,

( IMF,

(GAIT
(1944)

US_$ as Reserve Currency

PL-480 (1954) UNCTAD
(1964)
Eurodollar/offshore $ market

COMECON (1947)
,.

Globalism (1980s-2000s)

Self-Regulating Markets (Monetarism)

Public Downsizing

Private Initiative and Global Consumerism
Multi-Layered Citizenship and Recognition

Participation in World Market
Global Comparative Advantage

[Chile, South Korea; NAFTA]

Markets and Credit
Financialization

Export-Orientation
Privatization

Entrepreneurialism

Public and Majority-Class Austerity

National Structural Adjustment (Opening Economies)

Regional Free Trade Agreements

Global Governance

Oil Crises

(1973, 1979)

Cold War

Ends (1989)

“New World

Order”

Imperial Wars
(2001-)

Islamic State

(2013-?)

Debt Regime WTORegime Climate Regime

New International Economic
Order Initiative
(1974)

Group of 7 (G-7)
(1975)

Earth
Summit

(1992)

Kyoto
Protocol

(1997)

Chiapas Revolt
(1994)

Group of MDGs
20 (G-20) (2000)

(1999)

World Social Forum
(2001)

Stern IAASTD
Report Report
(2006) (2008)

SDGs
(2015)

“LOST DECADE” “GLOBALIZATION DECADE”

1970 1980 1990 2000

GATT Uruguay NAFTA (1994)
Round(1986-1994) WTO (1995)
IPCC (1988)

UNFCCC (1988)

Offshore Banking Structural Adjustment Loans “Governance” /HIPC Loans Public Private
Partnerships

Glasnost/Perestroika

I
Development

Theory and Reality

Development, today, is increasingly about how we survive the future, rather than how we improve on the past. While ideas of human prog­
ress and material improvement still guide theory and policy making, how we
manage “energy descent” and adapt to serious ecological deficits, climatic
disruption, and social justice effects will define our existence. How will this
change our understanding and practice of development?

A central issue is how effectively policy makers (in states and develop­
ment agencies) recognize the need for wholesale public coordination of plan­
ning to minimize and adapt to inevitable climatic changes. Plenty of new
ideas, practices, and policies are surfacing, but more as a cacophony rather
than a strategic endeavor to reverse our ecological footprint (see Glossary/
Index for bolded definitions). For example, while the Chinese government is
strategic in promoting green technology, China-the major offshore assem­
bly zone for global commodities-leads in global greenhouse gas emissions
(one-third). 1 Climate summits tend to confirm ambivalence of governments
held hostage to domestic growth policies-whether these governments are
from the global North or the global South. Across this historic divide, there
is now a shared global crisis of unemployment and debt, compounding the
challenges of development futures with rising inequalities.

Not only are there increasingly evident biophysical limits to development
as we know it, but development is now compromised by public austerity
policies across the nation-state system, most recently evident in Greece.

1

2 Development and Social Change

Such policies, introduced to the global South from the 1980s, now shape
northern societi~s and their interrelations. All over, the development ideal of
a social contra.ct between governments and citizens is crumbling as hard-won
social rights ancl public entitlements erode, generating despair, disillusion­
ment, or disorder as citizens protest cutbacks. Arguably, “development” is
not only in crisi~ but is a’iso at a significant turning point in its short history
as a master concept of (Western-oriented) social science and cultural life.

This book is a guide to the rise and transformation of “development” as
a powerful instrument of global social change over the last two centuries.
From one (long-term) angle, it appears increasingly cometlike: a brilliant
lodestar for ordering the world, but perhaps destined to burn out as its
energy-intensive foundations meet their -limits. From another (immediate)
angle, the energy and inequality dilemma forces renewed critical thinking
about how humans might live sustainably and equitably on the planet. These
perspectives are the subjects of chapters to come. Here, we are concerned
with the source and maturation of development as a master concept-both
its promises and its paradoxes.

Development: History and Politics

Development had its origins in the colonial era, as European domination
came to be understood as superiority and leadership along a development
axis. Global in its origins, the meaning of development nevertheless com­
pared European accomplishments with societies increasingly disrupted by
imperial ventdres. While such accomplishments came with substantial envi­
ronmental and social-and often violent-upheaval, they have been repre­
sented in theo,ry as a set’ bf idealized outcomes to be emulated by other
countries. Accordingly, development’s ends justify its means, however
socially and eci’ologically disruptive the process may be.

Here, Michael Cowan and Robert Shenton’s distinction between devel­
opment as an’ unfolding universal social process and development as a
political intervention is useful. In the nineteenth century, development was
understood philosophically as improving humankind (in the form of
knowledge btlilding, technological change, and wealth accumulation). In
relation to this, European political elites interpreted development practi­
cally, as a way ‘to socially engineer emerging natiohal societies. Elites
formulated government policy to manage the social transformations
attending the rise of capitalisn1 and ·inaustrial technologies, so develop­
ment was identified witli both inclustriali’zation and the regulation of its
disruptive social impacts. These’ impacts began with the displacement of

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3 CHAPTER I: Development

rural populations by land enclosures for cash cropping, a process that
generated “undesirables,” such as menacing paupers, restless proletarians,
and unhealthy factory towns. 2 Development, then, meant balancing tech­
nological change and the rise of new social classes, fashioning policies to
manage wholesale social transformations. At the same time, such transfor­
mations became the catalyst of competing political visions-liberal, social­
ist, conservative-of the ideal society.

In Europe’s colonies, the inhabitants appean;d undeveloped-by self­
referential (evolutionary) European standards. This ,ideqlogical understand­
ing of development legitimized imperial intervention, whether to plunder or
civilize. Either way, the social engineering impulse framed European imperi­
alism. Not only did massive colonial resource extraction facilitate European
industrialization, but European colonial administrators also managed sub­
ject populations experiencing their own wrenching social transformations.
Thus, development assumed an additional, normative meaning, namely, the
“white man’s burden”-the title of a poem by nineteenth-century English
poet Rudyard Kipling-imparting honor to an apparently noble task. The
implied racism remains a part of the normative understanding (and global
consequence) of development.

Thus, development extended modern social engineering to colonies incor­
porated into the European orbit. Subject populations were exposed to a
variety of new disciplines, including forced labor schemes, schooling, and
segregation in native quarters. Forms of colonial subordination differed
across time and space, but the overriding object was either to adapt or mar­
ginalize colonial subjects to the European presence. In this sense, develop­
ment involved a relation of power. For example, British colonialism
introduced the new English factory-model “Lancaster school” to the
(ancient) city of Cairo in 1843 to educate Cairo’s emerging civil service.
Egyptian students learned the new disciplines of a developing society that
was busily displacing peasant culture with plantations of cotton for export
to English textile mills and managing an army of migrant labor, which was
building an infrastructure of roads, canals, railways, telegraphs, and ports. 3

Through the colonial relation, industrialism transformed both English and
Egyptian society, producing new forms of social discipline among working­
and middle-class citizen-subjects. And while industrialism produced new
class inequalities within each s~ciety, colonialism racialized international
inequality. In this way, development introduced new class and racial hierar­
chies within and across societies.

While development informed modern narratives in the age of industrial­
ism and empire, it only became formalized as a project in the mid-twentieth
century. This period ~as the high tide of decolonization, as the Western

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4 Development and Social Change

(British, Italia~, German, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and Belgian) and
Japanese empires succumbed to the moral force of anticolonial resistance and
when a stand~r~izing concept-development as an emancipatory promise­
became the new global ontology (a way of seeing/ordering the world).

In 1945, the United Nations, with the intent of expanding membership as
colonies gained ndependence as sovereign states, institutionalized the Sys­
tem of National Accounts. A universal quantifiable measure of development,
the gross national product (GNP), was born. At this point, the colonial rule
of subjects under the guise of civilizing inferior races morphed into the devel­
opment project, based on the ideal of self-governing states composed of citi­
zens united by the ideology of nationalism. And by the twenty-first century,
the global development project focused. on market governance of and by
self-maximizing consumers. Given this trajectory, development is conven­
tionally understood as economic growth and rising consumption.

Development Theory

Identifying development with rising consumption privileges the market as
the vehicle of social change. The underlying philosophy-deriving from a
popular (but limiting) interpretation of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of
Nations 4 and formalized in neoclassical economic theory-is that markets
maximize indiyiaual preferences and allocate resources efficiently. Whether
this theory reflects reality or not, it is a deeply held belief now institutional­
ized in much development policy across the world. Why is this the case?

Naturalizing Development
1

There are two ways to answer this question. First, a belief in markets is a
central tenet bf.liberal Western philosophy. Hungarian philosopher Karl
Polanyi noted that modern liberalism rests on a belief in a natural human
propensity £or, self-gain, which translates in economic theory as the market
principle-reaJi~ed as consumer preference. 5 Self-gain, expressed through
the market, drives the aspiration for improvement, aggregated as consump­
tion. Second, as Polanyi noted, to naturalize market behavior as an innate
propensity discounts other human traits or values-such as cooperation,
redistributiont and reciprocity, which are different organizing principles by
which human,_ societies have endured for centuries. For Polanyi and other
classical social theorists, pursuit of individualism via an ecohomic calculus
is quite novel in the history and makeup of human societies artd quite spe­
cific to modernity, rather than being inherent in human social life.

5 CHAPTER 1: Development

While cooperative values are clearly evident today in human interac­
tions, the aspiration for improvement, normalized now as a private motiva­
tion, informs development. That is, well-being and self-improvement center
on access to goods and services through the marketplace. Dating from the
mid-twentieth century, in an era of powerful anticolonial, labor, and citizen­
ship movements, formulations of development paired private consumption
with public provisions-infrastructure, education, health, water supply,
commons, clean air, and so forth. The mid-twentieth century was the
heyday of the welfare, or development, state. But from the last quarter of
the twentieth century, provisioning has increasingly been subjected to
privatization, as the market, rather than the state, becomes the medium
through which society develops.

This outcome was prefigured in one of the most influential theories of
development emerging in the post-World War II world. In 1960, economist
Walt Rostow published The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist
Manifesto,6 outlining a development theory that celebrates the Western model
of free enterprise-in contrast to a state-planned economy. The “stages” tra­
verse a linear sequence, beginning with “Traditional Society” (agrarian, lim­
ited productivity) and moving through “Preconditions for Take-Off” (state
formation, education, science, banking, profit-systematization), “Take-Off”
(normalization of growth, with investment rates promoting the expanded
reproduction of industry), and “Maturity” (the second industrial revolution
that moved from textiles and iron to machine-tools, chemicals, and electrical
equipment)-and finally to the “Age of High Mass-Consumption,” charac­
terized by the movement from basic to durable goods, urbanization, and a
rising level of white-collar versus blue-collar work.

This evolutionary sequence, distilled from the US experience, represents
the consumer society as the terminal stage of a complex historical process.
Rostow viewed the US model as the goal to which other (i.e., developing)
societies should aspire, which partly explains his book’s subtitle-expressing
the Cold War rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union at the
time. The theorization of development as a series of evolutionary stages
naturalizes the process, whether it occurs on a national (development era) or
an international (globalization era) stage. Mass consumption was a final
goal to be realized through membership of the “free world” at the time, and
by implication, US assistance would be available to spur the Third World of
postcolonial, developing nations into progress along the stages.

However, note that Rostow’s “development blueprint” depended on a
political context. That is, markets required creating, securing, and protecting
(by a development state). They could not be natural. And development was
neither spontaneous nor inevitable; rather, it was shaped by social struggle,

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6 Development and Social Change

and it required, an institutional complex on a world scale (a development
project) to nurture it along, complete with trade, monetary, and investment
rules, aid regI~es, and a military umbrella-all of which were supplied
through postwar, multilateral institutions and bilateral arrangements led by
the United States. In this way, a theory of spontaneous markets diverges
from reality. B~t reality was nonetheless shaped by this theory-informing
public discourse and translated into policy implementation via an increasing
market calculus. This is a central paradox explored in this book.

Global Context

Reality is more complicated than it first appears. For example, Rostow’s
prescriptions artificially separated societies from one another. This may
have expressed the idealism of mid-twentieth-century nationalism. But to
assign stages of growth to societies without accounting for their unequal
access to offshore resources discounted a fundamental historic relationship
between world regions shaped by colonial and investment patterns. Not
only did European powers once depend on their colonies for resources. and
markets, but these patterns continued in the postcolonial era. Because of
continuing First•World dependence on raw materials from the Third World,
some societies were more equal than others in their capacity to traverse
Rostow’s stages, in part because resource extraction was one way, as we
shall see in Chapter 4. ·

It was this reality that stimulated dependency analysis and world-system
analysis. The cbncept of “dependency” (referring to unequal economic rela­
tions between metropolitan societies and non-European peripheries) emerged
in the mid-twentieth century from several quarters-an empirical observa­
tion by econoipist Hans Singer that “peripheral” countries were exporting
more and more natural resources to pay for increasingly expensive manufac­
tured imports; ;ah argument by Singer’s collaborator, Argentinean economist
Raul Prebisch, that Latin American states should therefore industrialize
behind protective tariffs on manufactured imports; and earlier Marxist theo­
ries of exploit:{tiye imperialist relations between the European and the non­
European world. 7 Dependency was, then, a relationship accounting for the
development df Europe at the expense of the underdevelopment of the non­
European world. Economist Andre Gunder Frank put it this way:

[H]istorical i;esearch demonstrates that contemporary underdevelopment is in
large part the historical product of past and continuing economic and other
relations betwe,en the satellite underdeveloped and the now-developed metro­
politan countri$!~· … When we ~xamine this metropolis-satellite structure, we

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7 CHAPTER 1: Development

find that each of the satellites … serves as an instrument to suck capital or
economic surplus out of its own satellites and to channel part of this surplus
to the world metropolis of which all are satellites.8

World-system analysis, advanced by sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein,
deepened the concept of dependency by elevating the scope of the modern
social system to a global scale. States became political units competing for-or
surrendering-resources within a world division of labor. Here, regional labor
forces occupy a skill/technological hierarchy associated with state strength or
weakness in the capitalist world economy.9 From this perspective, the “core”
concentrates capital-intensive or intellectual production and the “periphery” is
associated with lower-skilled, labor-intensive production, whether plantation
labor, assembly of manufactured goods, or routine service work (e.g., call
centers). As we shall see, this kind of geographical hierarchy is increasingly
complicated by what journalist Thomas Friedman calls “flat world” processes,
exemplified, for him, by India’s embrace of information technology.10

While dependency broadens the analysis of development processes to
world-scale relationships, challenging the assumption that societies are
aligned along a self-evident spectrum of growth stages, it implies a
“development-centrism”-where (idealized Western) development is the
term of reference. In this regard, Wallerstein has argued that given the power
hierarchy of the world system, (idealized Western) development represents a
“lodestar,” or master concept, of modern social theory.11 As such, the privi­
leging of Western-style development denied many other collective/social
strategies of sustainability or improvement practiced by non-Western cul­
tures. Nevertheless, while measuring all societies against a conception of
(industrial) development may have seemed the appropriate goal for modern­
ization and dependency theory at mid-century, from the vantage point of the
twenty-first century it is quite problematic. The growing recognition that the
planet cannot sustain the current Western-emulating urban-industrial trends
in China and India is one dramatic expression of this new reality.

Agrarian Questions

Urbanization is a defining outcome of development and the “stages of
growth” metaphor, where “tradition” yields to “modernity” as industrial­
ization deepens and nurtures it. Political scientist Samuel Huntington, writ­
ing about the process of modernization in Political Order and Changing
Societies (1968), claimed, “Agriculture declines in importance compared to
commercial, industrial, and other nonagricultural activities, and commercial
agriculture replaces subsistence agriculture.” 12 While this theoretical

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8 Development and Social Change

‘ sequence is clearly in evidence and has informed policies discounting small-
scale farming, ~here is a further question regarding whether and to what
extent this is i:ia:tural, or inevitable. And this in turn raises questions about
the model of separate national development. In fact, the demise of millions
of small produ<;ers has foreign, or international, origins-in the form of
colonialism, foreign aid, and unequal market relations-expressing the
global power relations identified by dependency and world-system analysts.
How we perceive these changes is the ultimate question: We know, for
instance, that agricultural productivity ratios across high- and low-input
farming systems have risen from 10:1 before 1940 to 2,000:1 in the twenty­
first century, 13 putting small producers (primarily in the global South) at a
competitive disadvantage in the global market. Even as social changes occur
within nations, does that mean the change is “internally” driven? Thus, if
subsistence agriculture declines or disappears, is this because it does not
belong on a society’s “development ladder”? 14 Or is it because of an expo­
sure of smallholders to forces beyond their control, such as unequal world
market competition by agribusiness?

Small farming cultures are represented as development “baselines”-in
theory and in practice, given modern technology’s drive to replace labor and
control producti’on (with commercial inputs such as seed, fertilizer, and pes­
ticides along with farm machinery). Unrecognized is the superior capacity or
potential in surviving agrarian cultures for managing and sustaining their
ecosystems COIJ;lpared to industrial agriculture, which attempts to override
natural limits with chemicals and other technologies that deplete soil fertil­
ity, hydrological cycles, and biodiv:ersity.15 The current “global land grab”
depends on representing land in the global South as “underutilized” and
better employed by conversion to commercial agricultural estates producing
foods and biofpels largely for export. 16 Such activities raise a fundamental
question as to’whether and to what extent development-as modeled-is
inevitable or int~tional, and national or international.

Ecological Questions
f :

This example of conversion of farming into an industrial activity under­
scores a significant ecological blindspot in development theory. Where the
passage from ~mall farming to large-scale (commercial) agriculture is rep­
resented as improvement, or development, it is an insufficient measure if it
does not take into account the “externals.” These are the significant social
and environmental impacts, such as disruption of agrarian cultures and
ecosystems, the deepening of dependency on fossil fuel, and modern
agriculture’s responsibility for up to a third of greenhouse gas emissions
(GHG). Such consequentes challenge the wisdom of replacing a

9 CHAPTER 1: Development

long-standing knowledge-intensive culture/ecology (farming) with an
increasingly unsustainable industrialized economic sector (agriculture).

One key example of this ecological blindspqt is its reproduction in the
Human Development Index (HDI), constructed by the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) in 1990. The HDI overcame the singular
emphasis on economic growth as development, but carried forward the
absence of the ecological dimension:

The concept of human development focuses on the ends rather than the means
of development and progress. The real objective of development should be to
create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative
lives. Though this may appear to be a simple truth, it is often overlooked as
more immediate concerns are given precedence.17

While the HDI is known for its more robust measurement of (human)
development, its data sources have lacked environmental content. This is
particularly so, given that humanity has now overshot the earth’s biocapac­
ity (see Figure 1.1). Focusing on the outcomes of development discounts

, Figure 1:1 Humanity’s Ecological Footprint

1.5


Q.)

..a
8
;:l
~ 1.0 .__,
….. ,.-.,

‘&~
….. t’d

g f.L1
i:,.. …..
….. 0

t’d 0.5 u
‘6h
0

0
u

f.L1

0.0
1961 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2006

D Built-up Land ll Forest Land II Fishing Ground

11111 Grazing Land II Cropland Ill Carbon Footprint

Source: Global Footprint Network, 2010 National Footprint Accounts.

10 Development and Social Change

how we live on
I

the earth-that is, measuring what practices are sustainable
or not. It was only in 2011 that the UNDP began to embrace an ecological
sensibility. Thus, the Human Development Report (2011) is “about the
adverse reperc’u~sions of environment degradation for people, how the poor
and disadvantaged are worst affected, and how greater equity needs to be
part of the solntion.” 18

Given the UNDP’s reputation for questioning conventional wisdom, this
new focus complements the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, which
noted that the last half century of human action has had the most intensive
and extensive negative impact on world ecosystems ever, and yet this has
been accompanied by continuing global gains in human well-being.19 Known
as the “environmentalist’s paradox” (sin~e we might expect ecosystem deg­
radation to negatively affect human well-being), researchers have noted that
average measures of well-being may reduce the validity of this claim, but
perhaps more significantly, “technology has decoupled well-being from
nature” and time lags will only tell.20 In other words, mastery of nature may
be effective in the short-term in generating rising consumption patterns, but
also in masking the long-term health implications of ecosystem stress. What
such research suggests is that development needs a robust sustainability
dimension-as suggested at the end of this book in the section on sustainable
development approaches.

DEVELOPMENT PARADOXES .
0

‘The environmentalist’s paradox, when inverted, is, in fact, a “clevelopment f
paradox.” Folmer World Bank economist Herman Daly formulated this as an I
“impossibility;’tbeorem”-namely, of US-style high that the universalization
mass-consumption economy would require several planet Earths. Eithet way, I 8
the ultimate paradox here is that the environment is not equipped to absorb its ,
unrelenting exploitation by the current growth model of endless accumulation. fi
In other words: fil development as we know it is undermining itself.

Three of tthe nine designatecl.plan;tary operational boundaries have
been crossed already-climate change, biodivers~ty, ‘and the nitrogen cycle- 11

1

while others.such as fresh water use and oceanic,acidification are at serious I
tipping points. Meanwhile, the costs of environmental degradation are uu
borne disproportionately by the poor-the very same people targeted by the
development industry. This is a key development paradox. Related to these

CHAPTER 1: Development 11

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