For An Alternative Development?

In recent times, consciences are being stirred, ethics are being taught, intense discussions are being generated and management is being learned. While the continuing violence to human condition and its environment is being challenged in ways that have reached new heights; the answer of the dominant is to apply further force and violence. 

We need to work towards demilitarization of societies, addressing root political issues of conflict, utilizing resources to meet basic human needs and taking responsibilities for action. Martin Lings metaphorically describes this situation as: If it can be said that man collectively shrinks back more and more from the Truth, it can also be said that on all sides the Truth is closing in more and more upon man. It might almost be said that, in order to receive a touch of It [Truth], which in the past required a lifetime of effort, all that is asked of him now is not to shrink back. 

Paul Hawken suggested that logic of production is neither the logic of life nor that of society. It is a small and subservient part of the two. Unless the logic of production is addressed, the instability will continue. Thus, transformation and development cannot find a place in structures and procedures where decisions are allowed to wind their leisurely way up and down the hierarchy – this demands the end of bureaucracy. Rigid structures and hierarchies become self-defeating because it slows responsiveness and stability. Hence, there is need to evolve a system of structure that is indigenous to the local people; derived from the values of the people and one that is responsive, and can meet the needs of the people. Indigenous culture and ethos consistent with humanitarian law, democratic principles and natural justice must be one of the bases for sustainable development. Alternatives and indigenization are what inspires change.

Development needs people participation where they learn by doing and reflecting on their actions. It requires people to identify their own problems, analyze critically the root causes of problems and develop strategies to effect positive changes. In essence, people need to assumer ownership of the process, the objectives and the steps towards realizing it. We need a cohesive movement that combines resistance and constructive proactive peaceful steps against unjust structures and rule. It must be a movement moves from the dominant and pervasive culture of force to a culture of non-violence, creative peace and life. Achieving sustainable community economic development means emphasizing sustainable employment and economic demand management. 

Sustainable employment includes turning wastes into resources, improving efficiency, increasing community self-reliance and sustainable management of natural resources. We need to shift our economic development emphasis from the traditional concern of increasing growth to reducing social dependence on economic growth.  

The development process must be at the core of people’s politics. At the heart of this process is the empowerment and recovery of community.