John Pasmore's Occassional Blog

Development Down Under by John


For some reason Australia has been a recurring theme in the media that crosses my path. The picture above is from an article in The Guardian and says, more or less, that the Aborigines were a bit more developed than scientist may have believed. Unrelated to the article and prior to reading it, I watched Ten Canoes this week. A kind of spoken word recounting of an Aboriginal myth that is more entertaining than that probably sounds.

More so than Australia as a recurring theme, development and the idea of what constitutes development as been a greater theme. I am reading Walter Rodney’s, “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa,” and he frames development for the individual as: “…implies increased skill and capacity, greater freedom, creativity, self-discipline, responsibility, and material well-being.” That seems fine, and it’s hard to argue than even for those people who are worst off in a country like the United States are still much better off than most in many other places. And, for me, I wonder if development in terms of greater well-being for a few at the expense of many others (I believe the prosperity of rich countries is generally at some expense to less powerful) is truly development.

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