Tuesday, 27 March 2012


such a harmless sounding word
a word with positive connotations
despite its rather dry and abstract feel
a thesaurus might bring up these synonyms
'advancement', 'progress' or 'improvement'
i once began a part-time masters degree
in something called 'global development management'
encouraged by the belief that the insights i gained might empower me
to making some kind of positive contribution to alleviating global poverty
but masters degrees don't sit very well with full-time jobs
or with fatherhood and new-born babies
on friday night in the prince of wales
i meet up with a university lecturer in international development
curiosity piqued
i ask him for his definition of 'development'
he's an intelligent, thoughtful and reflective chap
even so it takes him a surprisingly long time to come up with an answer
eventually he settles on this
'equality of opportunity'
this surprises me
it's not exactly what i was expecting
so my next question is
equality of opportunity to do what?
again a long pause
the answer is again an interesting one
'equality of opportunity to attain comfort'
i establish that 'comfort' denotes shelter, food, clothing, relationships
my next question should have been
for whom?
for humanity?
or for other species?
or for both?
this strikes me as an important point
as it can be argued that development
in cahoots with the global industrial capitalist system
has brought about an awful lot of inequality of opportunity for humanity
and as for other species
as they disappear at a rate of two hundred per day
i think the horrors speak for themselves
or perhaps i'm missing the point...

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