Culture matters – the myth of progress

evolutionary thinking about the world

history of development: evolution or exploitation?

franco: progress is a myth. if you want to live in that myth, that is ok. how do we structure humanity? there is a bottom line and it is treatment of earth. think in circles

dapo: development is dignityty

the need for new world institution. move the UN from US.

in the west: civilization, progress, great chain of being, modernization

is international trade good for all? how much government intervention is good

key takeaways:

think circle not upward sloping line

how is development defined? just economic terms? culture matters

individual responsibility as a success factor for fighting poverty. social fabric and adaptations to it

poverty is relative, to your neighbor to your neighbor country

in some peoples there is no notion of progress, only a notion evolution. it is circular and has to do with giving back to mother earth. they prefer no competition, retribution. we are inside a tale.

rural vs urban. it seems that with economic indicators people in urban areas are doing well. over time?

is culture just a coat that you take off when you want something warmer?

summary and terms:

dependency theory (andre gunder frank, samir amin, walter rodney, immanuel wallerstein):

all societies are part of one world capitalist system which benefits the core by appropriating the surplus value produced by the periphery. international trade benefits one side and exploits the other

marxist evolutionary thinking

primitive communism to to feudalism to capitalism to socialism. feudal societies are poor because they are still trapped in feudal relations of production. socialists societies bring an end to capitalist exploitation.

world-system (wallerstein)

there are no feudal societies anymore, and not yet truly socialist societies, because all societies are still in one integrated global capitalist world-system

vicious cycle of poverty and widening gap (bauer)

there is no exploitation because most countries and most people are getting wealthier all the time. international trade is good for everybody.


international trade may be good, but only if the government plays its part by promoting health and education, nurturing new industries, and regulating markets. by forcing governments to shrink, the World Bank and IMF have actually made conditions worse for capitalism, not better


the idea of development and the evolutionary thinking upon which it is based is not only inaccurate, it legitimates the capitalist world-system and conceals its exploitative nature. it is also euocentric.

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