Abisesh time is ripe to write it obituary”. He

Abisesh Shrestha_13661_M-SD_03                                                                                 21.12.2017

The German sociologist and
theologian Wolfgang Sachs is a famous writer in Post-Development theory. His
contributions mostly determined on the environmentally sustainable development,
stated that the previous thoughts of development are naturally unsustainable
practices. In 1992, in his famous article “The Development Dictionary: A Guide
to Knowledge as Power”, Sachs stated: “The last 40 years can be called the age
of development. This epoch is coming to an end. The time is ripe to write it
obituary”. He proclaimed that the new era of development that emerged in the
1950s, predicated on modernization by means of deepening the structures of
capitalism including global economic integration, had proven itself unable to
deliver the growing populations of the colonized world from exploitation,
poverty and related hardship. From that time his statement still being studied
and consulted by the different personality in the field of development to
figure out the difficulty in fulfilling development practices in the reality.

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Sachs as well as other
post-development theorists like, Gustavo Esteva and Arturo Escobar also raising
their standpoint against development. Escobar defines; “Instead of the kingdom of abundance
promised by theorists and politicians in the 1950s, the discourse and strategy
of development produced its opposite: massive underdevelopment, and
impoverishment, untold exploitation and oppression. The debt crisis, the
Sahelian famine, increasing poverty, malnutrition and violence are only the
most pathetic signs of the failure of forty years of development”.


From the very beginning the
definition of development being complex and controversial. It is used in many
fields like, political, economical, medical, educational and cultural simply based
on the assumption that development is a favorable change, moving from inferior
to superior, from worse to better, but all of them are very subjective. The
idea proposed by Andy Summer and Michael Tribe in 2008 stated that there are
three definitions of Development, in long-term “Development is a process of
structural societal change”, in short-to-medium term, Development appear when ”
a set of short-to-medium term performance indicators-goals or outcomes which can
be measured and compared with targets” and third one “Development as a dominant
discourse of Western modernity” of Post-Development. It’s very difficult to
define what the development is; that can be recognized by different intelligences
of concern and commitment from all over the world. Until today in 2017, despite
thousands of result when looking for development definition on Google, there is
not a perfect definition that can be applicable for all. However we are moving
forward to a more completed definition of Development by realizing its
complexity and separating it into many smaller aspects as; ‘Human Development’,
‘Sustainable Development’, ‘Community Development’.


The new way of thinking about
development actually began in 1949 with president Harry.S.Truman declaration:
“The old imperialism-exploitation for foreign profit-has no place in plans.

What we envisage is a program of development based on the concept of democratic
fair dealings”. He has also announced that the Southern Hemisphere as under
developed area and state that United State of America “making the benefits of
our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement
and growth of underdeveloped areas”. Which defined Asia, Africa and Latin
America as ‘underdeveloped areas’ in need of development. It is not appropriate
to judge any nations be developed based on industrialization and modernization
ignoring other things like; history, cultures, lifestyle etc. The western model
of development cannot be generalized all over the world.  Most of the countries did not catch the
process of development rather led to a widening gap between the richer and
poorer and finally that ‘development’ was a ‘misconceived enterprise’ in that
it implicitly aimed at losing cultural diversity through universalizing of
western institution. On the other hand, industrialization and urbanization is
degrading the environment being over exploitation to the natural sources
resulting various natural calamities and global warming.


         The development theorists concentrated
on the concept of the hierarchy that shows developed countries as superior and
underdeveloped countries as inferior, in need of support from developed

Sachs and many other post-development theorists criticized against the
development theorist regarding many indisputable failure of development policy
in the world. They see the development and its practice starts from 1950s is an
imbalance of influence or domination by the west. Let us consider the example
by Sachs in his article, he mentioned “in 1960, the Northern countries were 20
times richer than the Southern, in 1980 it is 45 times.” This statement clarify
that the development policy completely failed to reduce the gap between
developed and underdeveloped countries.

          After considering all above
assessment, I have come to the conclusion that Sach’s statement is somewhat
true in development procedure. His statement reminds us about the difficulty in
conducting development practices in the real world. However, knowing these
problems is not to give up trust in development but to make it in a alternative


Reference list

Wolfgang Sachs (1992): The Development Dictionary: A Guide to
Knowledge as Power

Arthuro Escobar (1992): Imagining a Post-Development Era?
Critical thought, Development and Social movements

Aram Ziai (2007): Exploring Post-Development theory and
practice, problems and perspectives