I will list your blog with other useful websites at the end of my chapter on development in the next edition of Understanding Politics. I emphasize the obstacles to the kind of development we associate with the Western experience in the book. My own take on a lot of the development literature of the past is that it devotes too much time and attention to theory and model-building and not enough to the problems and pitfalls. I see more evidence of disintegration than development in much of the old “Third World” (a term that for a variety of historical and analytical reasons no longer works, and “developing countries” doesn’t work for me either). That’s not to say rich countries (and international agencies funded by rich countries shouldn’t help poor countries), but the road to hell is paved with good intentions — and bad advice. The fine line between helping and interfering is too easy to cross. Also, my sense is the same ideas and initiatives that often work if they have a local source often fail if they come from the outside.
Thanks much for the comment. I very much look forward to a continuing discussion with you on the kind of issues you raise here. I too have struggled with the terms we seem to be stuck with in this field (e.g., developing, industrializing, third world, etc and have come up with a less biased, but awfully inelegant, label — RODAs (for Recipients of Official Development Assistance). Clumsy I know. But it is at least objectively accurate. Recommendations for a more elegant phrase welcome.
I very much hope you will continue to provoke thought through continuing to comment on posts on my blog.
Best regards, Jerry
From your mission, I think our blogs will share various viewpoints. In working with international development agencies over the years, I too found myself continually experiencing the limitations of donor-controlled, project-based funding and the need for community-driven development and advocacy initiatives that were genuinely responsive to local needs. Much of the feedback from colleagues over the years echoed the same.
That’s why last year I launched http://www.how-matters.org as an expression of my professional, but more importantly, a personal resolve to nurture alternative models of international development that genuinely build on the dignity, knowledge, skills, culture, and abilities of local people.
My blog explores the skills and knowledge needed by all international “do-gooders” to truly raise the level of human dignity within international assistance and to put real resources behind local means of overcoming obstacles. From my perspective, it’s not about what we do, but HOW we do it.
I’ve included you on my blogroll and I’m also very willing to welcome guest bloggers. I look forward to future collaboration.
I’m Endy, from Interreligious Studies program, at University of Gadjah Mada, Indonesia. I would like to ask Jerry Mark Silverman’s email to asking his dissertation, Indonesianizing Marxism-Leninism: The Development and Consequences of Communist Polycentrism (1919-1966). Where I can get this copy of dissertation.
Thank you very much for your kindness.
Interreligious Ph.D program
University of Gadjah Mada, Indonesia
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