Rethinking the Politics of Development Article
- Length: 10 pages
- Subject: Government
- Type: Article
- Paper: #12887733
Excerpt from Article :
It is simply how the world works, and how humans interact with the world.
One of the speaker's main points is that developing countries alter their political and government arenas as they develop. She believes that the government, which regulates taxes and other economic incentives, has the power to attract or repel business investment in their developing countries. She writes, "If taxes, industrial policy, environmental regulation, or industrial relations in any society are too costly or constraining, investors will pull up stakes and transfer them elsewhere; workers cannot move so easily" (Berger 2010, 51). She contends that as government leaders gain more power through technology, taxes, and investment in their country, they become less trustworthy to their citizens. Another group of writers note, "More than anybody else, government officials, as defined above, are responsible for words and action that influence the developmental direction of society. The decisions that they have to make are not merely in immediate response to demands from groups in society" (Hyden, Court, and Mease 2003, 3). This is becoming extremely difficult for many governments, as their citizens begin to distrust them as they bring growth and change to their society. Author Berger continues, "The other is the argument that the extension of market relations across national borders diminishes the citizen's attachment to national authority, leading to a decline in the legitimacy of central governments" (Berger 2010, 58). If this distrust continues in developing countries, it could lead to unrest and political backlash, as what is going on in Thailand right now between protesters and the government. The group of authors back up Berger's assertions. They write, "For governments around the world, defining the public interest in ways that balance substance with procedure continues to be a governance challenge with consequences for the public perception of the legitimacy of the regime" (Hyden, Court, and Mease 2003, 9). How does the government gain back the trust of the people? There are several interesting theories.
Clearly, developing countries and their governments are intertwined, and the success of that government relies on several factors. Governments can maintain control and regain the trust of their people by using five methods, according to Hyden, Court, and Mease. These are ensuring the people are not fearful of the government, their physical and emotional needs are met, the government is ready to make hard decisions, there is a good relationship between the government and the military, and the overall government attitude is peaceful (Hyden, Court, and Mease 2003, 12-13). Many developing countries, such as Jordan and Chile, score remarkably high in these five indicators, according to these authors' assessment.
Another argument the author states is that globalization can ultimately bring change to the welfare state. She writes, "Indeed, the argument is not only that these constraints will over time undermine the welfare state, but that they are already the principal source of pressures that have led to cuts in social spending across the advanced industrial countries" (Berger 2010, 55). This is happening around the world as this paper is written. Greece and the European Union are facing massive social change due to the economy; the United States is suffering from major economic woes including unemployment and a massive budget deficit, while here in Australia our economy is relatively stable when compared to other countries around the world. The author seems to have accurately predicted how the global economy would melt down, and how it would affect industrialized nations in many ways.
What are the implications of these observations for the future of developing countries? All of the experts cited here agree that developing nations are facing difficult times in many areas. Along with the natural crises discussed, which could occur at any time and without warning, there are political and economic difficulties facing many countries. The current situation in Thailand, where a group of protesters called the "Red Shirts" are fighting the country's military, because they see the government as "elitist" and out of touch with the people, is a textbook example of these difficulties. The protesters preferred the former prime minister, and feel the current regime is unaware of the people's needs, as well. This is exactly what these authors were portraying in their assessment of developing countries and their governments. Experts believe that a rouge military general, recently shot in the head, was behind the protest. This completely matches the assertions by the three authors and their ideas on the five things governments must do to maintain the trust of their people.
Climate change, as discussed earlier, is an extremely important measure facing developing nations. As they develop, they are creating much more pollution and carbon dioxide, which is adding to climate change. Many of these nations simply do not have the resources to stop the spread of climate change, while others do not believe they have to make changes. The recent discussions in Copenhagen illustrate the depth of the problem. During the summit, the participating countries could not agree on what amount to lower vehicle emission standards. Eventually, the reached an agreement, but it was far short of what many countries wanted or expected to make a real change in the world. Three reporters note, "But it disappointed African and other vulnerable countries which had been holding out for deeper emission cuts to hold the global temperature rise to 1.5C this century" (Vidal, Stratton, and Goldenberg 2010). Reluctantly, China and India eventually stated they would adhere to the agreement's standards, but even President Obama, who helped broker the agreement, said it was "not enough" (Vidal, Stratton, and Goldenberg 2010). In the future, countries are going to have to make tough choices about global issues such as climate change, and the countries that are strong enough to make those difficult choices and then adhere to them are the ones that will survive and thrive as developing nations.
Poverty is one of the biggest issues facing many developing nations and it hampers their growth in many ways. When the government can or will not provide for the people's needs, they breed unrest. However, they also breed a society that is poor, cannot take care of itself, and has no other choices. Many poor developing countries in Central America and of course, Mexico, fit into this scenario. In Mexico, many poor people do not have the skills or education to become employed at a viable level. That is one reason so many attempt to escape to the United States, to better themselves and their condition. In relation to that, much of government is corrupt, and drug lords are in power in many areas of the country, terrorizing the citizens and making their own laws. The country is violent, and the government clearly is not in control. In countries like these, there is a huge propensity toward violence, retribution, and corruption, rather than the five elements of success discussed previously. The people are afraid, they are in need, they are unable to better themselves, and there is no peace in their lives. They are primary candidates for reform, rebellion, and an overthrow of the inept government. Many other developing countries face the same conditions, making analysts wonder just which countries will survive, and which countries will fail as they attempt to reach modern industrial standards.
Another issue facing some of the poorest developing countries is health care. Many countries do not have the resources to offer high quality health care to their residents. While industrialized nations often step in to help with health care issues (as the United States has stepped in to work on eradicating AIDS in many parts of Africa), many other countries do not get the assistance the people need. Developing nations need to create more income so they can budget for these items for their citizens, but with the global economy the way it is, it is more difficult for them to attract business and industry to their areas of the world. This means health care will continue to decline in many developing countries, and this can lead to unrest and revolt, as well.
In the future, if developing nations cannot provide for their people and assert their people's agendas, some nations may never reach developed status. It may be impossible for them to compete with larger developed nations that have more to offer to business and industry. Many of these underdeveloped countries are small, with few resources to offer, so their status could remain unchanged for decades. Countries like Fiji, Haiti, and Palau rely on little more than tourism for their survival, and Haiti is an excellent example of what a natural disaster can do to an underdeveloped country. The entire county is in shambles, other countries have had to step in to support the survivors, and the consensus is that it will take years, even decades, to rebuild it. They are so poverty-stricken that the government cannot provide for its citizens, and they have no hope for…