Politics of Developing Areas was honestly the best course I could have taken as I consider my post-graduation plans. Going into IDS in the future seems ideal, however, this class altered as well as confirmed previous positions on international development and nonetheless makes me more skeptical of the development route I plan to go on.
Personally, I found the sections focusing on the great divergence extremely insightful, because the course consistently revisited the challenges to future convergence beyond the specified unit. Prior to the course, I would not have been able to exactly explain or really even guess why the world has split the way it is. Furthering on with that historical information, I would not have been able to conceptualize what could possibly be done to alter the process of divergence in the future, and how international aid could impact it, or even continue the divergence at a greater distance.
The entire course encompassed all of the challenges to international development and provided examples as to why these previous abstract deadlines of development have not been met. I do think that time frames run the risk of being damaging. It is reassuring to put an end-goal on a timeline of developmental projects and what is hoped to come out of them. However, it is not easily predictable whether or not the projects will have the timely success as intended, nor is it predictable that the environment that the project/program implemented will enable the change.
Hoping to have some sort of career in the developmental field in the future, there was great importance in focusing on the failures of programs such as structural adjustments and state-led development, again (!), why what works in one country does not mean that it can be packaged up and given to another. To focus on a specific country, I thought Japan’s rise was interesting to discuss. It is a country that I did not know a great deal of it’s history and how that tied into its current economic standing in the world sphere through MITI was a concept that I was not familiar with.
I do agree with Easterly regarding the accountability aspect of the Global North. Being outsiders to a struggling nation, difficulty presents itself in transparency and legitimacy when trying to assure aid recipients that their projects will be effective and not b driven by self-interest. The whole conversation regarding states acting in their own favor to lend aid to other countries will possibly not end in my lifetime. Whether it be economic advancement or resulting from previous colonial appearance, there is this whole incentive for countries to expand/invade into others.
In regards to the Global North combating poverty, I believe that it is doable. I would have to agree with Sach’s in the sense that countries need to get themselves on the ladder through international actors prompting growth. However, the complexity of what that aid looks like or how it will function regarding sustainable growth is an issue that I cannot attempt to give an answer to. I could provide possible to-dos and what not-to-do, but suggesting that these projects will be successful based on other historical accounts or the knowledge of Western scholars is not necessarily justifiable. Also, future development will only be successful if it is done bottom-up as it has been confirmed that implemented programs from above does necessarily mean that they will be successful where they are intended to be. It is so complex!!!! But, nonetheless motivating.