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Gareth Dale

A widely-held view on the relationship between poverty and inequality is that there isn’t one. Welfare, in this optic, is determined by economic growth, not distribution. How the poor fare has nothing to do with how well-heeled are the rich. What matters is not the pie’s ingredients or how it is carved up, but the fact that tomorrow’s delivery is bigger than today’s. This chapter discusses four aspects of the ‘rising tide’ image. Three are attributes of the metaphor itself: it envisages ‘the economy’ as, like the sea, a law-governed natural phenomenon; it moves (or rises) as a whole and in a manner that is perceptible and measurable; and all human livelihoods rest on a single socio-economic basis, much as vessels on the ocean. The fourth pertains to the conjuncture in which the aphorism first gained popularity: in a speech by John F. Kennedy in which he laid out his Smithian-Keynesian version of the growth paradigm.

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Susanne Schech

It is now well over two decades since critiques of development, informed by cultural studies and postcolonialism, have started to make their mark in teaching and research. A sign that it has become established is the fact that development studies reference books include ‘culture and development’ among the various conceptualizations of development as a process and phenomenon. This chapter maps how the culture and development approach has evolved, what impact it has had on the study of development, and what limitations and critiques have been raised. Having emerged in the 1990s at a time of crisis in development theory and praxis, how relevant is the culture and development approach today? The second part of the chapter examines the extent to which culture has been placed at the centre of development interventions, and how this has changed development practices and their critical analyses.

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Matthew Louis Bishop

The purpose of this chapter is to engage with current implications of the democracy and development debates. Many assume a tightly constituted link between democracy and development, but this is far more contested and contingent than it usually appears. This chapter starts by outlining the essentially liberal account of why development and democracy are believed to go together, before asking why, if this is the case, there has been a backlash against attempts to promote them. Then, in the second section, the chapter examines the genesis of the backlash against this conception. The final substantive section reflects on the wider implications for global liberalism in the contemporary era, focusing on three broad patterns of change: reassertions of state sovereignty, the rise of economically nationalist rhetoric, and the undermining of multilateral institutions. The chapter concludes by briefly considering the significance of the argument for broader processes of global governance.

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Rowan Lubbock

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were signed into history as a significant political effort at the global level to tackle the long-standing problems of international development but, by its own statistical standards, many of the social indicators measured by the MDG framework have actually worsened. This chapter argues that one way to think about the current impasse of global development is through a longer historical view of how the ‘idea’ of development has evolved during the epoch of ‘modernity’. This is not an arbitrary scholastic choice, but rather a window into the deeper connections between power and knowledge that has significantly shaped the geopolitical relations between what we have come to call the Global ‘North’ and ‘South’. In short, thinking through the geographical distribution of poverty and plenty requires a concerted focus on the phenomenon of imperialism as a specific material dynamic and organizing principle of international relations.

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Ray Kiely

Is the world becoming less (or more) unequal, and, if so, what role has development played in reducing (or increasing) inequality? What development strategies are more or less egalitarian than others? How does inequality relate to poverty? What, in fact, is inequality and how can we measure it? These are significant questions and this chapter cannot provide detailed answers to all of them. It does suggest answers to some of them by looking at the question of the relationship between development and inequality in terms of ‘emergence’, ‘debates’ and ‘strategies’, and then, in a more detailed discussion, draws on these debates to critically survey some recent trends in the relationship between development and inequality: first, the ‘emergence’ of the discourse of development after 1945; second, different theoretical explanations of global inequality in the context of post-war development; and, third, the effect of concrete development processes and strategies that emerged in this period.

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Alberto D. Cimadamore

Both conservative and transformational forces and agents agree in principle on the urgent need to eradicate extreme poverty as soon as possible, and to substantially reduce multidimensional poverty. This consensus, although relevant, may not apply to other goals and targets, particularly those with more potential to deal with the underlying structures that cause poverty. The integral realization of Agenda 2030 has the potential to produce a transformation of the development model, while addressing some of the causes of persistent poverty. However, focusing solely on the alleviation of extreme poverty, without dealing with its systemic causes, might legitimize the new agenda and governance institutions but will most likely fail to create a sustainable future for all. This chapter presents a proposal to move forward in the construction and implementation of an integrated science framework that could transform poverty and development research to address the development and global challenges of the twenty-first century.

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Philippe De Lombaerde, Stephen Kingah, Liliana Lizarazo Rodríguez and Stefano Palestini

This chapter deals with the contribution of (international or supra-national) regions to development. Regional integration projects always have development objectives, but whether these objectives are achieved is an empirical question. It focuses on the role of regions and Regional Organizations (ROs) in the design and implementation of social development policies, including: regional redistributive policies, regional promotion and protection of democracy, and regional protection of Human Rights (HRs). In the second section (Regional development finance), the chapter considers how regional organizations are contributing to financing development policies and projects. The third section (Regional redistributive policies) discusses how regions serve as redistributing platforms, section four (Regional promotion of democracy) assesses the contribution of regions to the promotion and protection of democracy, and section five (Regional protection of rights) investigates how regional arrangements and courts are playing a role in the protection of HRs. The chapter concludes with a presentation of some possible ways forward.

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Ronaldo Munck

Theories of development and social change most often seek to trace a continuity to the era of antiquity, presumably to show its centrality to the ‘human condition’ and its universal relevance. It is often submerged within an overarching teleological concept of ‘progress’ that colours all aspects of the theory and its application. For us, following Foucault, the pursuit of origins is necessarily essentialist. The critical discourse, or genealogical, approach we adopt needs to be set in the context of complexity, too often elided in both mainstream and oppositional development theory. With the social world becoming more complex and elusive, our research approach has to itself become more nuanced and not be reduced to the study of discrete hierarchical entities. Our approach to development needs to be adequate for ‘a world that enacts itself to produce unpredictable and non-linear flows and more mobile subjectivities’, as Law and Urry argue.

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Raúl Delgado Wise and Henry Veltmeyer

Latin American contributions to development theory have left an indelible mark on the field of development studies, giving it a more critical edge. These contributions relate not just to the vibrant debates on the development question, but to the activism of social movements and a history of experimentation with diverse forms and models of development. In many ways, Latin American thinkers and practitioners have been rebels to the Northern, occidental, mainstream development route boosted by the US and the international financial institutions. Since the post-war period, development and social change in the region have followed a distinctive and critical path in search of avenues to overcome – and transcend – Latin America’s asymmetrical and subordinated integration into the world capitalist system. The aim of this chapter is to assess that process from a critical perspective, in an attempt to envision what could be regarded as the Latin American legacy in the field.

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Laura Smith, Anne Tallontire and James Van Alstine

This chapter explores the private sector-development nexus, with a particular focus on the extractive industries. Extractives-led development strategies, promoted by development agents such as International Finance Institutions, are predicated upon the benefits that extractive firms (such as oil, gas and mining MNCs) provide to host countries and communities. However, the tools with which the private sector engages in development in extractive contexts are the subject of intense criticism and scrutiny. We use the case of oil exploration in Uganda to illustrate both the issues around the tools used to address community development, and also how the wider political economic context in which the companies operate serves to limit the effectiveness of corporate-community development initiatives. This chapter highlights the importance of continued debate about corporate accountability and the role of government, community and civil society actors in fostering broad-based development benefits from private sector activities.