Edited by G. H. Fagan and Ronaldo Munck
Chapter 3: Development and imperialism: rethinking old concepts for a new age
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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