|The Post-Development Reader
edited by Majid Rahnema and Victoria Bawtree
ISBN 984 05 1389 3 1997 460pp 240x156mm HB Tk.500.00 US$27.00
The fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations has only recently witnessed the fact that ‘development’ is still considered by the ruling governments and elites of the world as the only answer to the ‘problems’ confronting the people of the ‘Third World’. By contrast, authoritative and convincing voices are heard with greater force, particularly from the grassroots, which argue that fifty years of development have only led to a new type of colonisation, even more corrosive than the old. Above all, it has exposed its ‘target populations’ to a new socio-cultural variety of AIDS. Instead of its premises to revitalise their regenerative capacities, it is destroying the very immune system that they had developed to this end throughout the ages.
This Reader brings together some of the very best thinking on development by scholars, practitioners and activists from both North and South. They provide a devastating critique of what the mainstream paradigm has in practice done to the peoples of the world and to their richly diverse and sustainable ways of living. They also present some of the essential ideas out of which the victims of development are now constructing new, humane, culturally and ecologically respectful modes of development. This is a powerfully diverse, but ultimately coherent, statement for a new era in the history of development.
The collection of essays includes not only writings by well-known figures, or the amazing words of old indigenous sages such as Mahatma Gandhi and Dadacha, the elder of the Boran tribe talking about the need to protect the flow of life, but also the messages of such ‘activists’ as Subcomandante Marcos or Emnianuel N’Dione who, each in their way, are actually leading us toward the post-development age.
More than 30 ‘boxes’ bring to the book the thoughts of other prominent radical thinkers concerned with development issues.
In the preface to the book, Majid Rahnema, submits his own ideas on the search for a new language and new paradigms.
Majid Rahnema was born in Tehran in 1924. A career ambassador for much of his life, he represented Iran at the United Nations for twelve successive sessions. He is currently a visiting professor at the American University in Paris.
Victoria Bawtree was born in Australia. Educated in England, she has a degree in economics from London University.
Contributors include Marshall Sahlins, Teodor Shanin, Ivan Illich, Raini Kothari, Ashis Nandy, Vaclev Havel, Susan George, Eduardo Galeano, Orlando Fals Borda, James Scott, Gustavo Esteva and Wolfgang Sachs.