Post 5: test

This is a test

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Unit 4: Chinese vs. Western aid. Substantially different?

Last April, 29th an organization called AidData presented the China.aiddata.org project, consisting of a collaborative platform whose aim is to collect accurate information on all Chinese financial support to Africa, particularly aid. You can check their website at http://aiddatachina.org/content/about_the_project. Data sources are not official reports and statistics as it would be the case for any other traditional donor, but, media reports, which, according to the promoters is the most reliable source, even the only possible source.

Contrary with what happens in the West, development aid in China is not a distinct foreign policy: “There is clearly no official definition of ‘aid in China and some considerable ambiguity about what constitutes ‘aid'” (Power and Mohan, 2010: 483). Aid is structured through individual projects that are agreed bilaterally with individual countries and which are mostly tied to the acquisition of Chinese goods and services, and with other forms of tied cooperation (ibidem, 484). No individual agency has a specific mandate related to aid within the Chinese regime, but, instead, “A labyrinthine network of bureaucratic ministries and agencies collectively make up China’s development finance apparatus”(Strange et al., 2013: 4).

Development aid is though not an erratic policy, but, on the contrary it is subjected to a direct control by the State Council, led by Premier (idem). This seems to indicate a considerable strategic value attached to it (Power and Mohan, 2010: 483). Specific information on aid is never publicly disclosed; China does not report to the OECD-DAC system. (ibidem: 12). In this context it is not a surprise that media report are the most reliable data one can get on Chinese development aid.

The spectacular increase in the amount of Chinese development aid since 1989, its strong visibility through the realisation of big infrastructure projects and the heterodox modalities this aid takes have awakened a considerable degree of public interest. In spite of the described lack of reliable data, Western media often represent China as an irresponsible donor, who, in is able of anything in order to secure its national interest. The Chinese State is accused of exchanging environmentally unsustainable development projects against access to African mineral resources with the recipients’ countries elites, without taking either the peoples’ need or human rights considerations into account. In the absence of objective data this can be claimed to be at the very least, inexact and value loaded.

This overtly negative view of Chinese is often operated through a stereotyped comparison with Western donors who are presented as fair players whose aid policy are based on solidarity and have as its ultimate goal sustainable development in recipient countries.

In other words, the type of political influence China exerts on other countries through aid is at the core of critiques. This kind of influence is presented as differnt and/or opposed to that of the altruistic West

We will discuss these critiques in light of the report of the China Aid Project and through a comparison between the Chinese way with the Western way, in order to discern whether the kind of political influence China tries to exert is as different as suggested from the one traditional donors try to exert. For doing so, we will formulate two arguments of the arguments that most often appear in the media.

While traditional donors set political conditions on aid in order to prevent corruption and to impede reinforcement of crony regimes, China does not.

There are at least two academic works that explore the linkages between respect for human rights by a developing country and aid allocations by donors. (Neumayer, 2003 and Lebovic and Voeten, 2009). Both coincide in its main conclusion which is that respect for human rights plays no role in bilateral allocation, and a marginal role in multilateral aid allocation.

Chinese aid is guided solely by its national interest, the quest for natural resources, while the main Western donors’ purpose is the development of the recipient country and the welfare of its citizens.

China is explicit about the fact that aid is an instrument of political influence in the world. Its successful economic development has boosted its demand for natural resources, in particular fossil fuels and gas. This is why, according to the report, the eight countries receiving most Chinese aid are oil and/or gas producers. A brief google research allows us easily to track agreements on oil exploitation between these countries and China: Ghana – http://www.newstimeafrica.com/archives/25036-; Nigeria – http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/04/how-real-are-chinese-investments-in-nigeria/-, etc. Another fact that supports the view of China does not allocate any aid to a state that recognizes the government of Taiwan.

However, if one compares top Chinese aid recipients, US aid recipients and OECD top recipients the image of an altruistic West immediately falls apart.

References:

Lebovic, E. and Voeten, E. (2009) ‘The Cost of Shame: International Organisations and Foreign Aid in the Punishing of Human Rights Violators’, Journal of Peace Research, 46(1), pp. 79-97

Neumayer, E. (2003), ‘Is Respect for Human Rights Rewarded? An Analysis of Total Bilateral and Multilateral Aid Flows’ Human Rights Quarterly, 25(2): pp. 510-527

Power and Mohan (2010) ‘China’s Engagement with African Development’ in Geopolitics, 15(3): pp. 510-527

Strange et al. (2013) China’s development finance to Africa: A Media-Based Approach to Data Collection, Centre for Global Development, available at http://www.cgdev.org/sites/default/files/chinese-development-finance-africa_0.pdf

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Unit 2: Democracy and Development

What is democracy?

Few political concepts are as theorised and debated both in the academic and the political spheres as democracy. Traditionally meant as the government by the people, for the people and to the people, I claim here that the question that underlies every conceptualisation of democracy whether in the form of an index or a definition is the following: to which extent does a political system allow the people living within it to decide over the key aspects of their own lives?. The most decision power is held by a randomly selected citizen over the aspects of his/ her life, the more democratic a system is. The descriptive character and analytical value of the term democracy faces numerous challenges in the form of two extended rhetorical vices,

First of all democracy is often equated in the international political arena with good government and even considered to be the only acceptable type of government, particularly by Western Europeans and North-Americans. As a consequence manipulation of the term for legitimating or de-legitimating purposes happens quite often, leading to confusion and vagueness about its contents.

In this context Democracy indexes such as that of the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Freedom House or Polity IV try to translate democracy understood as the government by the people to a set of fixed parameters on which to base evaluations of democracy in the world: Polity IV chooses four parameters: the degree of openness of the party system, the universality of adult suffrage, safe and public elections, and free access to the media by all contending political parties to communicate their programmes; The Economist Intelligence Unit constructs a much more complex model based on 60 indicators grouped in four dimensions: (i) Electoral processes and pluralism; (ii) Functionning of government; (iii) Political participation; (iv) civil liberties and (v) political culture. The purpose of these indexes is to concretise and make the concept democracy operational and observable, in order to avoid manipulation and to facilitate the analysis of possible causal linkages with other variables, such as economic growth, expansion of social services, degree to which politics are pro-poor.

These indexes are though penalised by the fact that it is difficult to obtain consistent cross country information allowing us to say, for example, that the freedom of the press is greater in East Timor than in Guinea Bissau; I therefore think that democracy can only be significantly compared with itself in different moments, so that we can assess trends and anticipate what will happen.

Additionally none of the indexes tries to capture which specific individuals are participating in politics, although this is crucial. In the definition of democracy I advanced in the first paragraph, the word “randomly” is essential: It would be necessary to question whether certain collectives are systematically not participating and why, and, in my opinion, a special attention should always be directed to women, who have mostly been systematically discriminated in the exertion of public responsibilities. Since we constitute half of the population, I think a specific dimension on gender equality should be measured within every democracy index.

Democracy and development – a non-straightforward linkage

This said, what is the relationship between democracy and development? What follows is a reflection on Fritz and Menocal’s view on the matter as expressed in its 2007 paper with occasional references to other sources. The authors distinguish four ways the question has been looked at:

Development leads to democracy: This is the view of the modernist development school predominant in the 50s and 60s. According to it, democracy cannot appear without a certain degree of economic development (Fritz and Menocal, 2007: 4): “the emergence of democracy is endogenous to the process of economic and social development” (ibidem¸ 5); The authors claim though that this statement has been widely contradicted by facts, since the so-called Third Wave transitions to democracy occurred in poor countries (ibidem, 4). In his essay The ‘Sequencing Fallacy’ Thomas Carothers undertakes a comprehensive critique about this way of thinking by qualifying it as a discursive device for the legitimating of authoritarian regimes. He proposes to talk of gradualism instead of sequencing, in order not to sweep democracy out of the agenda into the agenda, reporting it indefinitely (Carothers, 2007)

China is relevant in this debate, since the view that its spectacular development will eventually have to lead to democratisation is quite widespread. However, the party and its associated elite still hold a strong grip on political power and personal and economic freedoms are substantially limited, even if China’s “economic institutions are incomparably more inclusive today than three decades ago” (Acemoglou and Robinson, 2012: 439).

This model is more or less similar to that of Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, where no sign of democratisation is visible, at least for the ordinary observer. Acemoglou and Robinson defend that the political elites of an authoritarian regime tend to block full economic deployment when it becomes dangerous for their interests.

Democracy leads to development: By putting governance first, the good governance approach is indirectly assuming that it is an adequate political system that leads to economic development and not vice-versa. However, as it was examined in the post Unit 1: The Primacy of Politics to Development of this blog, the Governance approach praxis has been discouraging in terms of its effects on development. To be fair, it is maybe the too narrowed view of politics as per Good Governance the approach that has hindered the full deployment of the benefits of democracy to development.

The perils of conceptualisations of democracy based solely on electoral processes are well documented by Paul Collier in his book Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places The author devotes one whole chapter to explain why political violence is more probable in poor “democracies” than in poor dictatorships. Paul Collier constructs the argument around the hypothesis that democratic regimes should produce less political violence because they are legitimate and responsive to their citizens, on the assumption that responsibility and legitimacy directly produce a transformation of social conducts by the government and the citizenry. However, he claims, empirical analysis invalidates the hypothesis for poor countries -he actually sets a threshold in 2.700 USD per capita income- in which, on the contrary, democracy has inverse effects -increased violence-. Collier suggests that in these contexts, a set of authoritarian measures could produce a sort of “balance” between theory and practice allowing for the emergence of legitimate and responsible rulers, who may choose to play a constructive role in the progress toward democracy regardless of their ambitions.

Democracy is a part of development: In 1999, Amartya Sen published his book Development as Freedom. Its first chapter opens up as follows: “Development can be seen, as a process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy. Focusing on human freedoms contrasts with narrower views of development, such as identifying development with the growth of gross national product, or with the rise in personal incomes, or with industrialization, or with technological advance” (Sen, 1999: 4). Sen’s claim is not only a conceptual one, but also a factual one. According to him, there is no contradiction between democracy and economic development. On the contrary both of them are human endeavours whose ultimate aim is to increase human freedom as a whole. Therefore the debate about what should come first makes no sense. In chapter 6 of his book “The importance of democracy” (ibidem: 146-159), he argues that we cannot know whether poor people prefer material welfare to democracy if we do not allow the poor to voice their concerns; Political freedom allows the poor to express their themselves and impede governments to rule without taking these into account; last but not least, economic freedom is the cornerstone of development.

The conceptualisation of democracy as development somehow overlaps the “democracy leads to development” argument: This, though, may be indicative of a shortcomings of Sen’s approach to development as being over-conceptual. It is undeniable that democracy and development are mutually reinforcing, to the extent that both may be considered as part of a wider “progress” of the society, but Sen’s book gives little evidence of the dynamics of this process, how it unfolds, how it happens, and what prevents it from happening. Leftwhich’s statement that it is unrealistic to assume that political and economic development goals (…) can be achieved simultaneously, at least from past historical perspective” (Menocal, 2007: 8) maybe of relevance in this context.

Conclusion

The aim of this exposition has been to warn against the vision of democracy and elections as a redemptive act: a sort of happy-ending for every country that has gone through substantial trouble and instability such as a war. The path to consolidated democracy is long, hazardous process with an uncertain end. Almost every informed author warn against the perils of programming elections when a state is not sufficiently consolidated. It is thus shocking that the international community insists in relying so heavily in elections for ensuring the success transitional processes after armed conflicts, as it has been the case in Libya, Irak, Afghanistan and (will be) Mali. Let us not forget that the west has intervened in most of these conflicts: Is the anticipation of elections a means to legitimize military intervention in the eyes of its own citizenry? If this is so, it is maybe us who need more information. Paradoxically our democracies have perverted effects in this case to the South.

References

Acemoglou, D. and Robinson, J. A. (2012) Why Nations Fail: the origins of power, prosperity and poverty, London, Profile Books

Carothers, T. (2007) ‘How Democracies Emerge: The Sequencing Fallacy’ in Journal of Democracy, 18(1): pp. 12-27

Colllier, P. (2009) Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places, Harper, Harper Collins.

Fritz, V. and Menocal, A.R. (2007) ‘Developmental States in the New Millennium: Concepts and Challenges for a New Aid Agenda’, in Development Policy Review, 25(5): pp. 531-552

Sen, Amartya (1991) Development as Freedom, Oxford University Press, Oxford, New

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Unit 3: The (im)possible replication of state success. What role for development aid?

In 1997 the World Bank introduced its World Development Report (WDR) as follows. “This report shows that the determining factor behind these contrasting developments is the effectiveness of the state” (WB, 1997: 1). This statement was not an isolated one, but took place in the middle of the apogee of the good governance paradigm in development .
In the aftermath of the Cold War, the word governance was re-coined and good governance rapidly became part of the development jargon to the detriment of good government, to broadly mean the institutional political arrangements which better work for economic development . Governance actually emptied government of its political content, so as to transform political recommendations, that could potentially be seen as intrusive and non respectful of states’ sovereignty, into apolitical technical recipes centered on formal arrangements and institutions. This de-politization is often explained through the fact that the Bank’s articles of agreement do not allow it to allocate funding according to political criteria (Leftwich, 2000: 105-106; Moore, 2006: 51) This being true it is also part of a broader picture: we cannot lose out of sight that, at the time, the scrupulous respect for state sovereignty and the non interventionism in States’ internal affairs still were, at least formally, fundamental principles of international relations.
Since the Bank could not overtly talk about power and politics, its role was limited to assessing formal institutions and proposing recommendations to improve them. The way of approaching political institutions by the Bank is well epitomized by the main WB’s governance diagnosis tool: the Country Political Assessment Framework
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTABOUTUS/IDA/0,,contentMDK:21378540~menuPK:2626968~pagePK:51236175~piPK:437394~theSitePK:73154,00.html
The CPIA is organized around the analysis of four dimensions -economic management, structural policies, policies for social inclusion/equity, public sector management and institutions- each having a number of sub-dimensions which are quantitatively valuated for each country so as to construct composite indexes per dimension and country.

Indexes as analytical tools pose a fundamental problem: they offer a fixed picture, which does not incorporate time in the analysis, in other words, they are a-historical. No research is undertaken about the causes of these governance indicators in specific countries through historical analysis, or, at least, this is not disclosed. CPIAs of one year for a country do not refer to previous CPIAs so as to least assess trends. States are compared with each other and ranked within the same year. This comparison among states is made on the basis of quantitative measures assigned to complex dimensions of dubious consistence. With this kind of diagnosis it is not surprising that the results yielded by this approach are scarce even according the World Bank (The World Bank and Governance. The Bank’s Efforts to Help Developing Countries Build State Capacity (de Janvry y Dethier, 2012)

There are two strains of thought that have tried to correct this essential shortcoming of the good governance approach: The political development school -more oriented to answer why States fail and focused on Sub-Saharan Africa- and the developmental state school -more oriented to inquire why states are successful and centered on East Asia-. Both schools take a historical perspective of state formation, moving away from the political asepsis and context blindness of the World Bank.
The political development school represented, amongst others, by Mick Moore and Vernon W. Ruttan, takes as a point of departure the existence of “really poor performers” and/or politically under-developed countries who are “unable to rule many of their nominal citizens or to pursue any kind of collective interest in an authoritative fashion – and arbitrary despotic and uncountable” (Moore, 2001: 386).
According to their analysis, unequal power relations between the North and the South, and rapid decolonization processes left behind newly born states with no solid centralized authority -politically underdeveloped-. Most of these new states survive solely on their external legitimacy, fuelled by what Moore calls unearned state income which is equal to funds not coming from taxing but from external sources such as, amongst others, aid, natural resources rents, and criminal networks. This has acted as a disincentive for the construction of internal legitimacy, disconnecting rulers from the ruled, and perpetuating fragility and failure (Moore, 2001).

According to Adrian Leftwhich a developmental state is ‘a state capable foster(ing) economic growth by a variety of active state measures of involvement, and also provide the social policy to generate and sustain the legitimacy which such a state requires, whether democratic or not’ (Leftwhich, 2008: 17). Fritz and Menocal define them as follows: ‘we understand a developmental state to exist when the state possesses the vision, leadership and capacity to bring about a positive transformation of society within a condensed period of time. (Fritz and Menocal, 2007: 533).

The origin of the developmental state concept is the successful experience of a handful of Asian countries that have achieved sustained development in a short period of time (Fritz and Menocal, 2006: 3; Leftwhich, 2008: 12). Whether there are developmental States out of Asia or not remains debatable: Lockwood describes Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and Mozambique as African successful stories, but he recognizes that they are far from qualifying for developmental states, since their process of political power concentration is unachieved and their industrialization degree is low (Lockwood, 2006: 100-120). Leftwhich qualifies Botswana, Finland and Mauritius as developmental States, and Fritz and Menocal add Brazil (Fritz and Menocal, 2007: 9). However the criteria are not clearly established.

The specific feature of developmental states is an efficient, meritocratic bureaucratic system led by a results-oriented elite, both acting independently from particularistic societal interests (Fritz and Menocal, 2006: 6). The authors attribute the causes of its appearance to “Japanese colonization, the invasion of Taiwan by the Kuomintang, the US-Vietnam War, the Chinese revolution and similar shocks” (ibidem: 9). These events are said to have weakened the traditional elites and promoted state effectiveness and power concentration in the context of external threats, an account which reminds us to the one of the emergence of the modern European state, suggesting a causal link between conflict and state effectiveness. In a different paper the two authors point to a second essential characteristic of the developmental state: industrialization. (Fritz and Menocal, 2007: 533). The East Asian Tiger have successfully built an export oriented economy based on the electronic sector, that has facilitated capital accumulation and economic take-off. Economic growth and decreasing poverty have legitimated these states internally allowing for long-lasting peace and prosperity in spite of their authoritarian character.

Conclusion

Both the developmental states school and the political underdevelopment school point that successes and failures of the state may only be explained through history. This has two major implications for the development agenda: (i) The good governance agenda is condemned to failure because it is a-historical in its diagnosis, and naive in its recommendations. No political change leading to better government can be promoted in without a historical perspective of why the state is as it is and an analysis of power constellations within the society. Hence, to assume that the right formal institutional arrangements will produce the right results is naive. (ii) If state effectiveness and state failure are historical processes very much related to war, revolutions and conflict, Fritz and Menocal seem to indicate for East Asian tigers and was the case with European countries, is it possible and/or desirable to replicate them? Are there cases in history that support the claim that foreign aid may be of use?

References:
World Bank (1997) World Development Report. The State in a Changing World, The World Bank and Oxford University Press, Washington DC available at http://wdronline.worldbank.org/worldbank/a/c.html/world_development_report_1997/abstract/WB.0-1952-1114-6.abstract
De Janvry, Alain, Dethier, Jean-Jacques (2012) The World Bank and Governance. The Bank’s Efforts to Help Developing Countries Build State Capacity, The World Bank Development Economics Department Research Support Unit.
Fritz, V. and Menocal, A. R. (2007), ‘Developmental States in the New Millennium: Concepts and Challenges for a New Aid Agenda’ in Development Policy Review, 25(5): pp. 531-552
Leftwhich A. (2000) States of Development: On the Primacy of Politics in Development, Polity Press, Cambridge.
Leftwhich, A. (2008) ‘Developmental states, effective states and poverty reduction: The primacy of politics’ UNRISD, Geneva.
Lockwood, Michael (2006), The State they’re in: An agenda for international action on poverty in Africa, Rugby: Intermediate Technology Publications Ltd.
Moore, Michael (2001), ‘Political Underdevelopment: What Causes ‘Bad Governance’ in Public Management Review, 3(3)

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Unit 1: The primacy of politics in development

Unit 1: the primacy of politics to development

The importance of getting politics into development (again?)

A certain apolitical flare impregnates development:  development  is a profession which implies that it can be achieved through the deployment of uniquely technical skills. NGOs, which constitute major implementers of development projects, base their identity on their nongovernmental character, although many of them obtain much of their funding from governments. Major moves in the development agenda, such as the Millenium Declaration Goals and the Paris Declaration, remain largely apolitical in their approach (Unsworth, 2009: 884). But, in a rather schizoid manner, this professionalization and technocrat-ization coexists with claims that “political will”, and/or “good governance” are necessary preconditions for sound and sustainable development.

This state of affairs has historical roots: The first contemporary development policy was the Marshall plan promoted by the US as a means to ensuring economic growth, peace and stability with the ultimate goal of containing communism (Beswick and Jackson, 2011: 70). In essence the Marshall plan was a security policy. The securitisation of development aid – securitisation meaning the classification of a certain issue as relevant for the survival of a human collective in the political arena; (McDonald, 2008: 566)- persisted during the Cold War: authoritarian and crony regimes were supported by the West to obtain their alignment in the global struggle against communism, regardless of the degree of disrespect they showed for human rights and democracy (Clarke, 2001). all of which entailed the consolidation of ruling elites more accountable to the West than to its own citizens (Moore, 2001: 387; Lockwood, 73-85),

Security policies during the Cold War also explain why political discussions within newly independent countries on the contents of and the paths to development were mutilated from the outset: development was capitalism according to the West, communism according to the East; and, for both the East and the West development was economic development and did not necessarily include women: Industrialization and economic growth were considered by both sides as its main engine : the rest, including democratic change, would naturally follow. (Fritz and Menocal, 2007: 5)-. Thus, development assistance was limited to financial support in the form of big infrastructure and productive projects that were expected to trigger economic growth. This modality meant no danger for ruling elites, but, on the contrary, legitimated them in the eyes of their peoples.

Hence the Cold War politics left politics out of the development stage: politics were not visible in the development business, but were in reality determining from the backstage who the actors were and what would they say. Since the East-West struggle was so profoundly determining development during the Cold War, a fundamental change in the primacy of politics to development pattern had to happen once this struggle finished in 1991. Donors were now rather interested in ensuring the smooth functioning  of the triumphant capitalist model all over the world, in order to attain a higher degree of prosperity for their own countries (Aliyev, 2011; Beswick and Jackson, 2011:8; Davidson, 2012: 128-134)

In order to “correcting” this mistake the development agenda was enlarged to embrace a new and salient item called good governance, meant as the building of the institutional setting that would enhance economic growth. In a few years, good governance became omnipresent in development two ways: (i) political conditions imposed on recipient countries for aid delivery and of (ii) projects specifically aimed at institution building. As a sort of ratification of this new approach, the World Bank introduces in 1997 its influential World Development Report as follows “This report shows that the1 determining factor behind these contrasting developments is the effectiveness of the state” (WB, 1997: 1)

Good governance was too narrowly focused on erasing the differences between the “failing regimes” of the South and the “prosperous regimes” of the North through a copy-pasting of the Northern systems into reports and political conditionality. Hence, in spite of this new focus on political realities, mainstream development policies and discourses remained solidly grounded on a technocratic Western oriented approach that took little account of each country’s social, cultural and political realities: “The barely submerged structural model and ideal of politics, economics and society on which all notions of governance rests is nothing less than that of western liberal (or social) capitalist democracy (Leftwich, 2000: 121). It could be claimed that the governance paradigm does not introduce politics into the picture, but rather occupies it only with polities. In essence the modernisation paradigm is kept intact except for the inversion of its sequencing: it would be good governance -political transformation- that would trigger growth -economic transformation- and not vice-versa.

The good governance approach still constitutes the dominating account of the inter-linkages between politics and development. Its influence together with the preceding securitisation pattern explain the a-political inclination of the development business. Additionally we are witnessing today a coming back of some Cold War like rhetoric facilitated by the so called Global War against Terror (the presence of an international bad that menaces our way of life requiring all possible efforts to stop it). As an example the document National Strategy for Combating Terrorism released in 2003 short after the September 11th in its introduction “We will not triumph solely or even primarily through military might. We must fight terrorist networks, and all those who support their efforts to spread fear around the world, using every instrument of national power— diplomatic, economic, law enforcement, financial, information, intelligence, and military” (Bush, 2003: 1) “The US National Security Strategy of 2002 (…) listed development alongside diplomacy and defense as the three central components of national security strategy, a tripartite approach designated the three D’s” (Howell and Lind: 2008, 15).

One could claim that this influence waters down when it comes to projects in the field; that NGO work is able to mitigate the influence of those factors certainly influential at the global level, but neutral at the implementation stage. Unfortunately, this is not true: Development workers, are constantly dealing with donors’ politics, for most of their funds, come from the OECD states and/or multilateral agencies who are the ones setting the agenda.

We cannot lose out of sight that development is itself a political project, (Hickey, 2008: 350) since it describes the general improvement of a society towards a better status quo for its members. Or, as J. Adrian Leftwhich puts it “development (…) is inescapably about change -economic growth, social transformation and political transition-” (Leftwhich, 2008: 10). Every average development worker who has managed the implementation of projects in the field knows -at least intuitively- that power issues are inseparable from his/her work, no matter how non-political one thinks the content of a project is: Every sustainable transformation of a society, whether at the local, national or regional level, entails a transformation in the way the power is distributed, and thus implicitly a bargaining with power-holders who will tend to align with the status quo. Right now while you read this there are hundreds of reproductive health projects going on in different parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, where the main problem that stops women from going to the health centres is their subordinate role in decision taking within the family and the society.

The a-political flare of development is thus no good news: placing politics within the actual development business, is a complex task, requiring a careful dissection of overarching political projects, as well as meso- and macro level interventions. But a crucial one.

References

Aliyev, H. (2011) ‘Neo-Realism and Humanitarian Action’, available at internet in The Journal of Humanitarian Assistance, http://sites.tufts.edu/jha/archives/1173

Beswick D. and Jackson, P. (2011) Conflict Security and Development. An Introduction, London, Routledge

Bush, G: W. (2003) Introduction to the National Strategy for Combatting Terrorism

Clarke, J. F (2001) ‘Foreign Policy Making in Central Africa: Regime Security in a New Context’, in African Foreign Policies: Power and Process, Gilbert M. Khadiagala and Terrence Lyons (eds.). London, Lynne Reinner: pp. 67-86.

Davidson, J. (2012) ‘Humanitarian Intervention as Liberal Imperialism: A Force for Good?, in POLIS Journal, Vol. 7, Summer 2012: 128-134

Fritz, V. and Menocal, A.R. (2007) ‘Developmental States in the New Millennium: Concepts and Challenges for a New Aid Agenda’, in Development Policy Review, 25(5): pp. 531-552

Hickey, S (2008) ‘The return of politics in development studies I: getting lost within the poverty agenda?, Progress in Development Studies 8(4)

Howell, J. and Lind, J. (2008) Changing donor policy and practice on civil society in the post 9-11 aid context, NGPA Working Paper Series, London School of Economics, London.

Leftwhich A. (2000) States of Development: On the Primacy of Politics in Development, Polity Press, Cambridge.

Leftwhich, A. (2008) ‘Developmental states, effective states and poverty reduction: The primacy of politics’ UNRISD, Geneva.

Lockwood, Michael (2006), The State they’re in: An agenda for international action on poverty in Africa, Rugby: Intermediate Technology Publications Ltd.

McDonald, M. (2008) ‘Securitisation and the Construction of Security’ European Journal of International Relations, 14(4): 563-587

Moore, Michael (2001), ‘Political Underdevelopment: What Causes ‘Bad Governance’ in Public Management Review, 3(3)

Unsworth, S. (2010) ‘What’s politics got to do with it? Why donors find it so hard to come to terms with politics, and why it matters’ in Journal of International Development, 21(6): pp. 883-895

World Bank (1997) World Development Report. The State in a Changing World, The World Bank and Oxford University Press, Washington DC available at http://wdronline.worldbank.org/worldbank/a/c.html/world_development_report_1997/abstract/WB.0-1952-1114-6.abstract

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