What Is Meant by Developmentalism: What Is Its Impact on Global Politics?

Topics: International Monetary Fund, United Nations, World Bank Pages: 9 (2679 words) Published: August 31, 2010
What is meant by developmentalism: what is its impact on global politics?


Most global political agendas and concerns relate to development even if it is indirectly as these developing countries are so reliant on the policies and implications of decisions made on a global level. This essay will examine foreign aid in the current global political state. This is adapted from the question ‘What is meant by developmentalism: what is it’s impact on global politics?’. Throughout this essay I will consider other ways in which foreign aid could be more effective regarding issues including accountability and security.

Firstly, we must establish the current global state. State sovereignty has undergone many changes in the last decade. New forms of states make up the new international political developments. According to Robinson (2002, p1056) “states have come from the Westphalian system, where control was exclusivist”. This means that no other states could exercise power over another state. Following WWII, a new series of international organisations was created, all with a common view to resolve transnational problems. This also recognised that states may not be as effective on their own.

In order for developed nations to stay at the top, developing nations must stay ‘developing’. Robinson furthers this point by stating that social order is increasingly organised globally, not nationally, therefore “inequality is globally organised” (Robinson, 2002, p1056). This emphasises the fact that to be ‘developed’ a state must prove itself on a global level. This forces states to shift their mindset from national to international, therefore suggesting that the focus is now at a global level economically and politically.

Capitalist global hegemony has shifted the focus from individual state development to a worldwide political framework of economic dependency. Global politics within the capitalist system are driven predominately by economic incentives. It is no longer just the state entities with international relationships that dictate development policies, instead it has transcended into global enterprising agendas beyond the nation state. This furthers the point that states cannot function as effectively on their own. This has bred an increasing “global social polarisation” (Robinson, 2002, p1050) between the Global North and South. This “world industrialisation” (Robinson, 2002, p1052) shifting the developing world from agrarian production to mass industrialised labour, drives the TNC “densely networked firms and enterprises” which control the global market place.

Kelly (2008) believes the state is making a comeback in development theory. “The World Bank’s most recent Annual Reports and World Development Reports suggest that the neo-liberal disapproval of the state is fading” (p319). Furthermore, “political institutions, which structure markets, provide transparency, and even promote equity, are new areas of emphasis. But this liberal or Northern understanding of the role of the state scarcely fits the actual practice of late developers in the South” (Kelly, 2008, p319).

He states “the two most important counter-paradigms to neo-liberal modernization… reject its neo-classical, economistic understanding of the state, emphasizing instead state-led development and external political autonomy” (Kelly, 2008, p319).

History of aid

According to Goldin & Reinert (2006, p114) link the history of modern aid to colonialism; “ in so far as colonialism was driven by and exercise driven by a desire to stimulate and then exploit economic activity abroad, providing investment capital, technology, and technical assistance to colonies was integral to the process” (2006, 115).

Institutions such as the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund in the wake of World War II (WWII) to facilitate increased international assistance. “These efforts were informed by the adverse experiences of...

References: • The African Studies Centre, Transnational Institute, Centre for Social Studies and the Peace Research Institute, 2003, Failed and Collapsed States in the International System, ASC: Leiden
• Brown, O
• Glennie, J. 2008. The Trouble with Aid: Why less could mean more for Africa, Zed Books, London.
• Goldin, I. & Reinert, K. 2006. Globalisation for Development: Trade, Finance, Aid, Migration and Policy, The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/ The World Bank, Washington
• Kelly, R
• Knack, S. 2004. Does Foreign Aide Promote Democracy? International Studies Quartely, No.1, pp251-266
• Moyo, D
• Njinkeu, D. & Cameron, H. 2008. Aid for Trade and Development, Cambridge University Press, New York.
• Puri, D. 2009. Aid for Trade: Global and Regional Perspectives, Springer Science & Business Media, Switzerland.
• Randall, S. 2004, Political Economy of IMF Lending in Africa, The American Political Science Review, Vol 98, No.4, pp 577-591.
• Sarver, R. 2007. Counterpoint: UN MDGS and U.S. Aid to Africa: Ineffective and Unrealistic, International Social Science Review; Vol. 82, Issue ½, p79-86
• Stone, R
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