Cow picture is creative commons taken from flickr.com click here to find out more about the person who took it.
Written at the end of 2003...
Development as Explained By 2 Cows in a Field
Development in General – “Three cows are better than two.”
Mainstream Development – “Feeding the cow grass and exposing it to fresh air is completely inefficient. We will loan you money so that you can house the cows in a battery farm and feed them upon sheep brains which you will import from Great Britain. You can pay off the loan by exporting factory effluent to Japan.”
The Debt Crisis – In the 1970’s Western Banks had more cows than they knew what to do with, so they loaned cows to all manner of Third World despots and dictators. These un-elected rulers then slaughtered the cows and sent the profits to Swiss Bank accounts. Twenty years later the people of third world countries are asked to forgo education and basic medical care to repay the loaned cows, despite the fact that they never saw them in the first place.
Development World Bank Style – “Sure those cows provide you with food and security, but what you really need is a cash crop. Have you considered coffee?”
Development IMF Style – “Yes I agree that your cows are starving, but the last thing we want to do is feed them. We must emaciate them further in the hope of attracting international investors.”
Participatory development – “Has anyone ever thought of asking the cows what they think of all this?”
Gender and Development – “Hey! Have you noticed how little work the bull does. He just stands there and looks at the field all day!”
Helen Hughes and Development Part One – “Once upon a time we colonised the pacific, the effects of colonial polices were disastrous for the pacific. We then provided aid to the pacific which was given primarily for geo-strategic reasons and which often ended up lining the pockets of our own consultants. All of this is entirely the Pacific Island Peoples’ fault.”
Helen Hughes and Development Part Two – “It’s the Grass! The Grass is making the cows lazy. We need to impose business friendly ‘reforms’ on the grass!”
Development Economics Part 1 – “Sure your cows are dead but, as GDP has remained unaffected, I fail to see the problem”
Post Development – “It’s the cows! The Cows are the problem! We must stop believing in Cows!”
Development Economics Part 2 – “Surely that would be more easily expressed as:
G = ln(X-Y) / 3 (moo + moo) * jkl – log(16 + 4). Right?”
Neo-Liberal Development – “The public owns the cows?!? That is uneconomic, the cows must be privatised”. And, after the cows were privatised (one was sold to Japan while the other was bought by a foreign corporation which worked it to death) “Hmmmmmm..........I don’t know what went wrong. It must have been the grass. Yes that’s it, the Grass! You need to impose a private / public partnership on the production of grass.”
Neo-Conservative development – To cover up the fact that that one of their main corporate donors has just robbed the country of $3,000,000,000,000 neo-conservatives then invade another country to ‘liberate its cows’. 3 years later the only thing that has been liberated is the country’s oil. Lucrative development contracts are, however, awarded to the original donor corporation, which is then able to fleece someone else’s country. This is progress.
Sustainable Development – “Are you sure we have enough grass for this?”
Post Development 2 - "Development is just a trojan-cow for expanding colonialism and western hegemony."
Amartya Sen – “While primary issues can be complicated by secondary interpretations and some degree of ideological influence, it is reasonably possible to state, with a degree of certainty, that the heterogeneity of needs render interpersonal comparisons based exclusively either on material wealth or on nutritional needs to be of limited use. Moreover, a lack of interpersonal comparability, is one of the primary shortcomings of classical utilitarianism as it was eloquently espoused by such intellectual luminaries as Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill and, at the same time, on a slightly different level, it is difficult to conclude that liberty alone, as proselytised by Robert Nozik, can provide an adequate measure of welfare. This has been shown by Arthur Cowthorpe in his seminal 1876 work ‘Moovement and Place’. So we can start to form the beginning of an assumption that material wealth alone is inadequate to form any sophisticated paradigm of welfare. See?”
Helen Hughes Part 3 – “Look I really don’t like cows! But if I said as much, people would brand me a racist so I have to use economics.”
Update: Thanks to Monique for coming up with the idea for Post-Development 2