Removing the “human” from humanitarian aid
Claiborne, Meghan Elizabeth
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During the late 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, development theory was greatly influenced by a rising class of scholars known as modernization theorists. These development experts attempted to explain the state of Less Developed Countries around the world be developing the concept of a generalized “peasant” and the “problems” associated with these peasants which kept the worlds’ poorest countries from developing into capitalist societies. Because of their preconceived concept of the “peasant”, these experts never truly understand the people they were developing projects for nor what the goals of their projects needed to be in order to positively affect Less Developed Countries. The approach of these modernization theorists to development led to inefficient and ineffective development initiatives. This paper will study the flaws in this sect of early modern development theory, as in the World Bank’s failed Thaba-Tseka Project, by comparing it to the Good Roads Movement, an early 20th century development project. The Good Roads Movement focused on bottom-up organization, direct participation of rural citizens, and incorporation of local knowledge in project planning. Modern development theory has made a great deal of progress in the past several decades. It is important to recognize that these modernization theorists were a sect of development theory and not all experts shared this view of Less Developed Nations. Over the years these early views have been reformed and re-examined and will hopefully lead to an era of more effective development projects.