Beyond Developmentality Constructing Inclusive Freedom and Sustainability
History tells us that industrial development with all of its pollution, inequity and exploitation is the inevitable destiny of human societies. Yet is this really the case or are we trapped in a prevailing 'develop-mentality' that demands an endless cycle of inputs, outputs, consumption and waste on a finite planet? And is there another, better way for humans and the biosphere? This incisive, epic work turns the dominant industrial development model and its economics upside down and argues for a new way of thinking about the meaning of development and the complexion of our economy. The book traces the origin and development of the concept of development in the economic context, and suggests a way to achieving post-industrial development with zero industrial growth. The book argues that sustainable development is possible only when concerns for biodiversity and human development are put at the centre of the economy and social policy. It both provides a theoretical foundation to sustainability and presents practical instances of sustainable production systems. Coverage is magisterial and includes history, ecology, economics, anthropology, policy analysis, population theory, sociology, the Marxian critique of capitalism, Orientalism, semiotics and sociology of science. These are interwoven in an accessible but challenging way that enables readers to look at development theory, economics, consumerism and environmentalism from a new vantage point. Distinguishing features includes a critique of development from a natural science perspective, a fresh and thorough account of the concept of sustainability both from a theoretical and empirical perspective and the application of an evolutionary biology metaphor to building a socially responsible alternative to the prevailing developmentality. This is the most sweeping coverage of critical issues in economics, environment, development and sustainability available. It is both an empowering and necessary read for students, academics, professionals and activists from across sustainability, development, economics and environmental studies and beyond, and an invaluable repository of information about the critical issues facing humanity as we continue to develop our over-crowded planet.
'A truly extraordinary work' John Bellamy Foster author of Ecology Against Capitalism and In Defence of History 'With this book Debal Deb moves into the ranks of critical philosophical practitioners speaking from developing countries - Enrique Leff, Jos Lutzenberger, Vandana Shiva, Victor Toledo and others - whose writings and lives are testaments of sanity, care, and vision' From the Foreword by Richard Norgaard, UC Berkeley, USA 'A fascinating, erudite and remarkably cosmopolitan guided tour around the erroneous assumptions and pathologically compartmentalized reasoning prevalent in mainstream development thinking and its historical and contemporary practice. Just as many economics text should carry a toxicity warning this should carry a commendation for promoting intellectual health. Deb's work makes a substantial contribution to furthering the existing body of critiques by the likes of Rahnema, Korten, Escobar and Illich. One of the best sources for many cutting edge issues on development and environment' Oliver Springate-Baginski, University of East Anglia, UK and co-editor of Forests, People and Power 'For the better part of the last two decades the debate has raged over development as a modernist project questioning its epistemology, its enlightenment roots, its relation to imperial power and the massive machineries of development discourse associated with institutions like the World Bank.In its contemporary variant - neoliberal globalization - the search for alternatives to the hegemony of the market and of corporate power has taken on a new life driven by the so-called movement of movements. In BEYOND DEVELOPMENTALITY, Debal Deb takes on board this long history of resistance to development in its multiplicity of forms and opens the door for a serious discussion of alternatives. Deb has scaled the walls of the fortress of development and shaken the structure to its very foundations' Michael Watts,University of California-Berkeley 'Debal Deb is one of the most important voice for ecological sanity on our planet. He shows that consumer capitalism destroys ecosystems and that traditional models of development paradoxically create poverty when they offer prosperity. He shows in this vitally important book that it is possible to create real wealth while sustaining our environment by drawing upon the knowledge of indigenous people and grassroots social movements. He shows that only by rejecting 'developmentality' and embracing ecosocialism can we solve problems of poverty, climate change, deforestation and declining resources. He is a rare voice of sanity in a field where superficial techno-fixes are offered toth address ecological problems instead of the revolutionary changes in society, epistemology and economics which are actually required' Dr Derek Wall, Principal Speaker of the Green Party of England and Wales 'Dr. Debal Deb combines sharp and detailed scientific analysis with deep social commitment. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to get development right, so that it works for nature and people and not against them' Dr. Vandana Shiva, Recipient of Right Livelihood Award 'One of the book's strongest points is its wide-ranging use of literature and thoughts from economics, ecology, sociology, political science, philosophy and indigenous knowledge systems....his work challenges set notions and stimulates new ideas on how humanity can achieve sustainable living, and therefore deserves a much wider audience' Ashish Kothari, Frontline. 'The main strength of the book is its comprehensive multi-disciplinary coverage..the book is a must read for all those concerned with environmental and social dimensions of the current growth path' The Hindu, Feb 2010. 'Unequivocal, clear, and pointed statements...a thoughtful and detailed deconstruction of the practice of Western development... I applaud his attempt to reconstruct rather than abandon development and his willingness to attempt a counternarrative. Deb elegantly deconstructs capitalism, development, and developmentality without falling victim to nihilistic postdevelopmentism. I will surely use it in my graduate seminars on development.' Brent McCusker, West Virginia University, Economic Geography. 'he does seem to give a firm, honest, and finally cautiously hopeful encouragement for researchers, concerned world citizens, and others with respect to our human ability to achieve a more respectful, long-term existence.' Miamanni M. Mishkin C., Economic Botany 'This is an ambitious work, and may well come to be seen as an important one' Mike Hannis, Environmental Politics, July 2010