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The No-Nonsense Guide to International Development (No-Nonsense Guides) Kindle Edition
“Overseas aid” and “international development” are catch-all terms that cover a multitude of activities—and abuses. This guide explains what “development” actually is—and explores its political and economic roots. It shows what can happen in the name of development and argues for a more organic, social approach with those it seeks to serve as equal partners in the process.
Maggie Black has written books for the Oxford University Press, UNICEF, and Oxfam. She has worked as a consultant for UNICEF, Anti-Slavery International, and WaterAid, among others, and has written for the Guardian, The Economist, and BBC World Service.
'I sincerely hope this No-Nonsense Guide to International Development reaches and informs a new section of thinking people across the world. Let as many of them as possible become supporters of and participants in the new politics of transformation."Medha Patkar, Narmada Valley People's Movement, India --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B007A2VY38
- Publisher : New Internationalist; Illustrated edition (October 1, 2007)
- Publication date : October 1, 2007
- Language : English
- File size : 928 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 154 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1904456634
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,732,915 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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The author, Mrs. Black starts with an overview of the history of development; beginning with the end of World War II and the independence of new countries in a post-colonial world. President Truman dreamed of modeling International Development after the Marshall plan which was currently rebuilding Europe. However, the cold war quickly escalated and the emphasis of development became the containment of communism as well as the spread of a U.S. Sphere of influence among developing nations. With the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990's globalization was emphasized; a process dominated by Transnational corporations whose main motive was for profit.
Transnational companies, government agencies of developed countries and the United Nations have spearheaded most development efforts. Non-governmental (N.G.O.) agencies have also become involved and have the best track record in development. However, the record for development has not been positive. Much of the International aid does not reach those who need it the most; illustrating that large infrastructure projects and trickle-down theories to development need to be re-thought. Furthermore, International loans have also exacerbated problems, indebting many developing nations. Meanwhile, the world is becoming increasingly aware of the limits to growth and the impact of human pollution; creating new tensions between developed and developing nations as well as highlighting development that is sustainable.
Mrs. Black ends on a positive note. Although she advances powerful critiques of development, she doesn't call for its end. Instead, she encourages developers to reconsider their strategies and goals to prioritize development that is bottom up, local, and centered on the needs of those who need it the most. Furthermore, she urges that developer and developing countries become equal partners in the development process. Summarizing, this quote is pertinent:
'.... true development is about people, and social beings do not function mechanistically. There is no common prescription. To be of genuine use to people, development has to grow organically, building on existing knowledge and systems, and engaging empathetically with different ideas......'
Many of the ideas that Mrs. Black proposes are not new. Yet, what she does in 'The No Nonsense guide to development,' is provide a valuable overview of key themes in the development field. Furthermore, I liked the emphasis she places on local, bottom up development. It is for these reasons that I encourage others to pick up this book.
The reason it gets 4/5 stars is it doesn't say anything new, or at least nothing that isn't said in more detail in many other places. Yes, development has exacerbated at least as much (probably more) poverty as it has alleviated. But that's been the central theme in a number of recent books. And this book's basic conclusion is pretty simplistic: bring the poor into the process. Very little beyond that.
So to conclude, if you are just getting involved in the development world, or just want a quick summary of its highs and lows, I highly recommend this book as an easy, informative overview. And that's not a negative - I believe based on the format and style that's the central purpose of this book. However, if you've already read 3 or 4 current books in the field you can skip this one.
That being said, this is a quick read and does give a good background on the topic, an How the field of International Development has evolved throughout the recent decades.
Top reviews from other countries
It's clear that the author knows her subject however I expected a more objective discussion of the issues. Instead the author has a clear opinion and agenda. The book is far from a balanced discussion. Nevertheless there was enough substance to continue reading and I'm happy to hear someone else's view.
The point where it all got to much for me was the discussion about social sectors and in particular the statement that "people in traditional occupations are cut out - water sellers .... etc. The prices of the new goods and services invariably end up higher than those of the traditional providers they replace". In many cases this is far from the truth. The poor, who are the ones that often have to reply on water sellers, are usually the ones that pay the most for their water, often 3-6 times the amount that the rich pay, particularly in urban areas. In many major cities of the World much gangland violence is centred around the control of the water sellers territories.