Politics of Underdevelopment

Underdevelopment is not simply just the absence of development. It is created by current economic system which sucks resources from the villages to towns, from towns to cities and from developing counties to financial capitals of industrial countries. Policies and projects having minimal or no consultation and participation with local people in evolving objectives and processes have disastrous effects on their lives. They only encourage large scale borrowing, which inevitably causes debt that that leads to dependency. 

The most basic right we have is the right to life. Right to life does not only mean mere Survival; but guarantees access to resources that will enable you to enjoy your right to life to its fullest potential. In modern sense food, clothing, housing, education, transport, healthcare, access to water, communication, deciding your own destiny, security and decision-making make up the most basic needs to enjoy the right to life. Communities safeguard this right, whereas privatization and enclosures destroy it.

Non-democratic economic systems and militarized states through its bureaucracy extend control over decision-making and resources using force to displace people from productive employment and self-reliance, to create a culture of insecurity and dependency. When a person’s identity is no longer coming from the positive experience of being a farmer, a craftsperson, a teacher, a doctor or a self-employed person, culture is reduced to a negative shell where one is in competition with the “other” over scarce resources that define economic and political power. The containment of ownership over resources and means of production undermines a person’s political and cultural identity. 

In democracy, economic agenda and political agenda are inter-related and often influence each other. But when corporations, globalism and militarized states usurp democratic frameworks and structures, democracy itself is decimated. Hence politicians are left to garner votes on the basis of religion and tribalism, which subsequently give rise to fundamentalism and fundamentalism effectively fills the vacuum left by a decaying democracy. 

Therefore, we need to be rooted in community to recover our rights. It must involve a movement that seeks to relocate our minds, our production and consumption patterns away from poverty creating markets. We need to move from Globalism towards indigenization of power and from corporations to peoples. This paradigm shift in which we relocate ourselves in the people and in nature is fundamental for survival. According to Mark Roseland “achieving sustainable community economic development means emphasizing sustainable employment and economic demand management. It implies shifting our economic development emphasis from the traditional concern with increasing growth to reducing social dependence on economic growth.”

When we begin to rediscover our roots and reclaim indigenous wisdom, we realize that the problem of production has not been solved nor been adequately addressed. It is time to overcome the assumption that unlimited power has solved the problem of production; and the need for us to transcend this illusion.