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  Underdevelopment is, clearly, a comparative lack — the lack of development. It is, therefore, usually regarded as a negative. At its coarsest but — following Adorno (1993/1951, pp. 156-7, quoted in Cowen and Shenton 1996, p. 476) — also most tender, it is hunger and a future of hunger. And these are indubitably a product of capitalism which \'stands between\' (Cowen and Shenton, 1996, p. 474) the possibilities of the idea of development — movement and fluidity, a process of becoming, whereby \'none shall go hungry anymore\' (Adorno, in Cowen and Shenton, 1996) — and doctrines of development — the intention to develop as a form of policy. Doctrines of development ignore the implications of underdevelopment as a comparative geographical adjective, the use of which is founded on presumptions of \'oneness, homogeneity and linear evolution of the world\' (Esteva, 1992, p. 12).

How are these relationships articulated? social reproduction is an inescapably material process involving the sustenance of consumption, exchange and production over space and time. It is also an ineluctably social process. Social relations of reproduction not only govern the ownership, control and direction of the means of production and labour power and provide the means of communication, the norms and assessments of social reproduction, but also shape the trajectory and purpose of the power of human labour. Within the contemporary world, the dominant social relations are those of capitalism, which is based upon the highly flexible exploitation of labour by capital; its single-minded objective, structured through its social relations (Brenner, 1986), is accumulation.

This dominance — the outcome of the \'remarkable … historical geography of capitalism\' and, in particular, of its capacity for geographical expansion to the global founded on such flexibility (Thrift, 1989; Dicken, 1998; see globalization) — has \'penetrated every nook and cranny of the world. … Peoples possessed of the utmost diversity of historical experience, living in an incredible variety of physical circumstances, have been welded … into a complex unity under the international division of labour\' (Harvey, 1982, p. 373).

Under these conditions, uneven geographical development becomes the means through which the capitalist geography of social reproduction may be sustained. Underdevelopment becomes the target of this intentional development both as a means of managing and redistributing risk (contradictions of the divisions between rich and poor) and as a means of accumulation. Its contemporary legitimation is dated by some to 20 January 1949, the day of accession to office of US President Truman, who referred to the intention to develop the underdeveloped areas and so invented the notions of development and underdevelopment. Hence,

[U]nderdevelopment began. … On that day, two billion people became underdeveloped. In a real sense, form that time on, they ceased being what they were, in all their diversity, and were transmogrified into an inverted mirror of others\' reality: a mirror that belittles them and send them off to the end of the queue, a mirror which defined their identity, which is really that of a heterogeneous and diverse majority, simply, in terms of a homogenizing and narrow minority. (Esteva, 1992, p. 7.)

The notion of the invention of development and underdevelopment is certainly helpful but the dating is affected more by the global scope of Truman\'s intentions than the historical veracities of the use of the terms in thought and in practice which extended beyond the early nineteenth century (Cowen and Shenton, 1996). Indeed, there is a double arrogance here in that to suggest that a recognition of material lack (Adorno\'s hunger) was imposed on a heterogeneous population by presidential diktat ignores the similarly brutal homogenization of the world\'s people through the often violent construction of a global geography of capitalism (Peet, 1991; Watts, 1992/ 1996; Corbridge, 1989), whilst the diktat itself assumes an essential and desirable oneness (defined by the US, of course) in the contemporary world.

Nevertheless, the notion of the invention of development points up a number of presumptions:

{img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } a singular hierarchical world pursuing the ecologically unsustainable objective of US-style social reproduction in which the notion of sustainable development is a means of sustaining development rather than sustaining the diversity of social and ecological life; {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } the geopolitical objective of US hegemony in a bipolar world of the Cold War now fragmenting into polycentric geographies; {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } the possibility of reduced inequalities in a circuit of social reproduction (global capitalism) in which inequality is of consequence only insofar as it is dysfunctional; and {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } the notion that development is a move towards uniformity forced through market relations heightened by capitalist expectations:The metaphor of development gave global hegemony to a purely Western genealogy of history, robbing people of different cultures of the opportunity to define the forms of their social life. (Esteva, 1992, p. 9.)

Thus the concept of endogenous development driven by diverse cultures and values undermines such a global metaphor and so is always modified in doctrines of development as matching endogeneity with the exogenous forces of capitalist development. Nevertheless, there is a danger here too. In order to avoid enslavement to the aspirations of others, especially through exposure to the virulent character of capitalist expansion, conservation — with all its implicit regressive processes — is represented as solution and so a future different from the past — the idea of development — becomes impossible.

Insofar as they may be used to demonstrate the massive inequality in the conditions likely to promote Adorno-like hunger-free conditions of life, development indicators may be politically useful in raising the level of political consciousness of the existence of such inequalities and of movements designed to remove their causes (Harrison, 1981). The danger, of course, is the promotion of doctrines of development rather than of development itself. And such a comment is as true of the UNDP\'s (United Nations Development Programme) human development indicator (which, perforce makes heavy use of GDP) as it is of indicators of growth purporting as indicators of development.

Furthermore, in labelling the victims as the problem, indicators miss the underlying cause of underdevelopment: the disempowerment of people in their struggle to make a living (Friedmann, 1992). The ability to make a living (and so to make histories and geographies in conditions of one\'s own choosing) involves adequate access to natural resources and to the knowledge and techniques needed for productive consumption and production. People must be mentally and physically capable of productive work — a preparedness which, whatever else it may involve, involves prior consumption.

But the capacity to make a living is not reducible merely to physical access to the means of consumption; it involves the access to and the manipulation of three kinds of power: social power of access to the means to make a living; political power over decisions shaping the struggle to make a living; and psychological power deriving from a sense of individual potency. Barriers to these sources of power constitute both a condition and a process of underdevelopment. The condition of underdevelopment may then be understood not merely as lack (\'hunger\') but as a lack of social power — a lack, in other words, of the means to make a living; and the process of underdevelopment understood as disempowerment. But this cannot be solved by granting access to the power to reproduce capitalism. Thus the problem with these indicators of development, like the notions of doctrines of development, is that they define the terrain on which notions of social reproduction are played out.

A number of conditions of existence are necessary to enable people to make a living (Friedmann, 1992):

{img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } access to defensible life space in the home and immediate locality; {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } availability of time beyond that spent in the struggle to keep alive; {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } access to knowledge and skills; {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } links to appropriate information about effective means of social reproduction; {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } membership and involvement in social organizations for information, mutual support and collective action; {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } attachment to social networks both horizontal among family, friends and neighbours and vertical through a social hierarchy; {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } availability of/access to the forces of production (most importantly healthy labour power or the ability to perform labour, to work) and the means of production for domestic and informal work (e.g. household goods, bicycles, sewing machines) as well as for formal work beyond the household or locality; and {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } availability of/access to financial resources and formal and informal credit.These conditions of existence are effectively denied to the two-thirds of the world\'s population whose income is less than 10 per cent of the per capita income of the United States and who are rendered largely superfluous (see Castells, 1996) to the contemporary global process of social reproduction enjoyed (unequally) by the remaining third. And this superfluity is apparent throughout the world economy. Even in the United States, the so-called underclass — those people living well below culturally defined levels of subsistence and able to make only minimal contributions to officially measured economic output of GNP — number 10 per cent of the population. How is it that these conditions exist during a phase of development of the world economy which, since the beginning of the nineteenth century, has experienced previously unheard of rates of growth of GDP per head, literally hundreds of times greater than those of earlier epochs (Maddison, 1982), and in the face of claims (e.g. Beenstock, 1984, p. 226) that increasing integration within the world economy will lead to \'the inexorable spread of economic development over the next hundred years\'?

One answer to this question is the legitimacy of the economic enabled by the discourse of development itself (Watts, 1993). Not only does developmentalism imply that there is no alternative to development but it obscures the way in which the establishment of \'economic value requires the disvaluing of all other forms of social existence\' (Esteva, 1992, p., 18) especially when the specificities of capitalism as an especially powerful form of economic valuation are also obscured in the process. The spread of capitalism across the world did not take place across an isotropic plain, nor did it encounter an undifferentiated or politically unstructured social vacuum; rather it was confronted with a geographically diverse range of more or less well-developed sets of social and environmental relations and processes of social reproduction, the distinctions between which served to differentiate social formations (e.g. Sahlins, 1972). So the response to the spread of capitalism was by no means uniform (Larrain, 1989) and the paths from underdevelopment towards development must be equally diverse — notwithstanding the universal need to disengage from capitalist accumulation as the highly dangerous and amoral arbiter of development.

Such transformations may be enabled only through social struggle which, it is increasingly apparent, must take place from below (Friedmann, 1992). Unless people can succeed in creating humane conditions of existence, underdevelopment must remain the normal human condition. But, as Corbridge (1989, 1991) has pointed out, it is one thing to mount a critique of an exploitative system based upon the crucial recognition of inequalities in relations of power, and quite another to imagine and to practise an alternative (or more appropriately a geographically diverse range of alternatives) based upon rights and participation as well as upon needs and equality and, above all, on a refusal to subordinate the social to the economic notwithstanding the material necessities of consumption, exchange and production for social reproduction. What is needed, however, is the freeing of the idea of development from doctrines of development and their trustees (Cowen and Shenton, 1996). (RL)

References Adorno, T.W. 1993/1951: Minima moralia. London: Verso. Beens tock, M. 1984: The world economy in transition. London and Winchester MA: George Allen and Unwin. Brenner, R. 1986: The social basis of economic development. In Roemer, J. ed., Analytical Marxism, ch. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Editions de la Maison des Sciences et de l\'Homme, 23-53. Castells, M. 1996: The rise of the network society. The information Age: Economy, society and culture, vol. I. Cambridge, MA and Oxford: Blackwell. Corbridge, S. 1989: Marxism, post-Marxism and the geography of development. In R. Peet and N. Thrift, eds, New models in geography, ch. 9. Boston and London: Unwin Hyman, 224-54. Corbridge, S. 1991: Third world development. Progress in Human Geography 15 3: 311-21. Cowen, M.P. and Shenton, R.W. 1996: Doctrines of development. London and New York: Routledge. Dicken, P. 1998: Global shift; transforming the world economy, 3rd edn. London: Paul Chapman Publishing. Esteva, G. 1992: Development. In W. Sachs, ed., The development dictionary: the guide to knowledge as power. London and New Jersey : Zed Books, 6-25. Friedmann, J. 1992: Empowerment: the politics of alternative development. Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Oxford University Press. Harrison, P. 1981: Inside the third world: an anatomy of poverty. London: Penguin. Harvey, D. 1982: The limits to capital. Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. Larrain, J. 1989: Theories of development. Cambridge: Polity Press. Maddison, A. 1982: Phases of capitalist development. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Peet, R. 1991: Global capitalism: theories of societal development. London and New York: Routledge. Sahlins, M. 1972: Stone age economics. New York: Aldine. Thrift, N. 1989: The geography of international economic disorder. In R.J. Johnston and P.J. Taylor, eds, A world in crisis? Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell; UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) annual Human development report. New York: Oxford University Press. Watts, M. 1992: The shock of modernity: Petroleum, protest and fast capitalism in an industrializing society. In A. Pred and M. Watts, Reworking modernity: capitalisms and symbolic discontent, ch. 2. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. reprinted in S. Daniels and R. Lee, eds, 1996: Exploring human geography. London: Arnold, ch. 6, 120-152. Watts, M.J. 1993: Development I: power, knowledge, discursive practice Progress in Human Geography 17 2: 257-72.

Suggested Reading Castells, M. 1997: End of millennium. The information age: economy, society and culture, vol. III. Cambridge, MA and Oxford: Blackwell. Corbridge, S., ed., 1996: Development studies: a reader. London: Arnold; Esteva (1992). Peet (1991). Watts (1992).



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