The essay below is on chapter 12 from the book titled, ‘Social Change.’
To present the synopsis of chapter twelve; it begins with introduction of development project, its evolution, and at the end of the chapter, negative impacts of development are outlined. This paper would like to begin with introducing development project in brief, but mainly I would like to contradict by presenting negative impacts of development.
Generally, development project evolved with a goal of socio-economic development, but such development project was critically seen as potential for affecting future human society. Socio-economic development is the project that evolved during the post world war II. The project was financed and directed by donor organization (US) for reconstructing those countries affected by the war. The project’s foundation can be attributed to Marshal Plan. Marshal plan was a development model orchestrated by the US, which provided financial assistance to those war torn countries.
Counter to the US, Soviet Union also directed such development model through financial assistance to those countries affected by the war. Thus, development became competition for those two powerful blocs trying to set dominance over the world, but for those third world countries; development became inevitable priority. During the post world war era, with institutionalization of development, the US government spent trillions of dollars to improve agricultural product, promote industrialization, expand education system, and control population growth.
The development project spur success in terms of public health facilities when deadly disease like small pox was eliminated and infant mortality rate was reduced drastically. As a part of the project, remotest villages in poor countries gained access to education. In short, many people from the Third World enjoyed materially better life, improved heath, wealth, and wisdom due to development program aids.
It is no denying fact that development project propelled social and economic progress in many countries. On contrary, development project has also been widely criticized because of many negative impacts associated with its programs. Development project made many achievements during the cold war period, but much remained to be accomplished, which critics tagged as the failure and identified it as the sources of failure.
The main source of failure of development project is that development project has been insensitive to cultural differences. Development plan, which is aimed to benefit the real needs of the recipients, did not succeed in some rural places. Although, the development plans were planned and directed by the US and Soviet Union, the real problem was not comprehended properly.
With the introduction of Green Revolution, many farm tractors were supplied to Third World countries. As a result, there was rise in the wheat and soya bean production, but not all the Ford tractors were efficiently used. Mostly, in undersized villages in Asia, where farming was practiced in small scale, these tractors were useless, except functioning as a status symbol, parked in front of the property owner’s house.
Similarly, in the field of public health, family planning was emphasized with millions of dollars spent on contraceptive pills to control fertility rate, which is aimed to make life better. However, such concept of making life better with fewer children was not clear for village folks. They did not see any prominent analogy between controlling birth rate and improving lifestyle because they placed an importance of labor on maximum number of family members. Therefore, those pills were wasted. Thus, with such flaws, development program required proper planning and scrutiny.
Critically examining, I can see similar trends in Bhutan. Bhutan being very small and poor, received many support from foreign agencies, especially during the reign of the third king of Bhutan. Since then, development program spread and reached in many agencies including the Health Sector. With construction of hospitals and B.H.Us, many rural and urban places in Bhutan gained access to better health facilities. Similar to villages in Third World countries, many villages in rural Bhutan hardly depended on health centers. Mostly orthodox and superstitious, the villagers in far-flung corner of Bhutan still attributed their sickness to some kind of evil spirit and unseen forces. They ignored to visit health centers for treatment but they focused on traditional rituals as prime remedy even if the diseases were scientifically diagnosed. Thus, such facilities, aids, and resources were wasted in such cases.
Since Bhutan joined the United Nations, she received much assistance from foreign organizations. Here, in this matter, I would like to point out that corruption has also increased by manifold with development in Bhutan. It is no doubt that foreign aid showered vigorously in Bhutan: bringing development in many ways.
However, this created room for those opportune people working in bureaucratic sector for misusing the resources. The Health Sector of Bhutan is one of the categories of development focused by foreign agencies. Recently, the anti-corruption commission of Bhutan found that the Heath Sector to be the most corrupted sector in Bhutan. With billions of money invested in this sector, the corruptive trends clearly shows that the money and resources were wasted, or used inefficiently. Thus, the development program may seem blessing in a society, but like Third World countries, Bhutan also experienced failure and shortcoming, especially when the Health Ministry, which depended on foreign aid, was seen as the most corrupted ministry in the country.