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'What is Development? Colonialism Deconstructed' by Prof. Joseph Mbele

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by bagamoyo, Feb 24, 2011.

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    bagamoyo JF-Expert Member

    Feb 24, 2011
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    An Article by Prof. Joseph Mbele:
    The concept of development is everywhere, in our personal lives and in the lives of communities and countries in general. We all believe that we need development. If we do not strive to develop, we get pressured in one way or another to do so. Other people try to force development on us.

    In talking about countries, people use the concept of developed countries, developing countries or underdeveloped countries. Accordingly, countries such as the USA, Britain, Sweden, Germany, and Japan are considered developed. However, countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda are considered developing or underdeveloped. These concepts are firmly entrenched in people’s minds. Do we know what we are talking about, when we use these concepts? Do these concepts make sense?

    Although I used to think like other people--that there are communities or countries that are developed and others that are developing or underdeveloped--I have discovered that these concepts are faulty and unreasonable. I dare say that these concepts confirm the existence of false consciousness in our heads, the product of faulty education.

    Why do I say this? First, saying that a certain community or country is developed implies that that community or country has reached the peak and is now static. The truth is that there is no community or country in the world that is static. Every society and every country is changing all the time, in different areas and respects: economic, political, cultural and so on. Even those societies or countries considered developed are changing all the time. The USA of three years ago is different from the USA of today, and the USA of five years to come will be different from that of today. Technological changes, for example, occur all the time. The same happens in other fields, such as culture and education. All countries follow that pattern. Changes never end, whether in Tanzania, England, or the USA.

    If this process of change means development, then every country in the world is a developing country. Therefore, the idea of there being countries that are developed and others that are developing does not make good sense. It is pointless to place some countries in the category of developed countries while they are, like the other countries, changing all the time.

    The fundamental issue, however, is the concept of development. We need to ask ourselves: what is development, and who defines it? Who sets the criteria for development?

    On the whole, some countries, especially those which ruled us during colonialism--the powerful countries in the present world--are the ones which set the standards of development. Because Europe brags that it is developed, Africans and others around the world accept that notion and look at their own countries as developing or underdeveloped countries. These are neo-colonial ideas, an opium that was spread, and continues to be spread, in schools, the media, and many other institutions.

    Please Continue reading the article on this link: What is Development? Colonialism Deconstructed - Newz | The Urban Fly

    Other links: Hapa Kwetu: Makala ya "Kwanza Jamii" Yachapishwa Marekani

    other links mjengwa