Showing posts from December, 2011

A theory of development

Start with the default state of humankind: poverty and insecurity 1 . In the cities, this means slums: tin-roofed shacks jammed up against one another, sometimes for miles; shit-strewn streets; spaghetti tangles of pirated power or local generators, if any; sardine-packed minibus taxis; unemployment; gangs; hardly any health care. Things don't seem so bad in rural areas, except you're easily victimized by disease, drought, politics, and, more insidiously, population growth: the land that fed your ancestors enough that they grew and multiplied isn't sufficient to feed your family, because you're more numerous than they were. This would be much less of an issue with better inputs - seeds, fertilizer, etc. - but we're talking subsistence farming here. Development. Meaning what? Not GDP growth, necessarily. The short version is, things getting better . Real health care. Real education. Work that turns into a job that turns into a career. Things built to a higher stand