1st Edition

The Development Trap How Thinking Big Fails the Poor

By Adam D. Kiš Copyright 2018
    190 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    190 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    A wave of optimism is sweeping through the international aid and development industry, championed by leaders such as Jeffrey Sachs and Jim Yong Kim, who believe that poverty eradication could be within our grasp. Yet in stark opposition come those who believe that all international development intervention is hegemonic, paternalistic, and neocolonialist and must be done away with. In this book, the author argues for a middle ground. Poverty is an entrenched, intractable problem that will never be entirely eradicated. However, if we reorientate our objectives in line with realistic goals that improve the way that poverty is confronted on a smaller scale, we can still continue the fight for meaningful change.

    Using rigorous scholarship illustrated with vivid storytelling and personal anecdotes from fighting against poverty in the field, The Development Trap argues that we need to make progress against poverty on the micro, rather than the macro scale. Instead of shooting for a single overarching end of poverty, our goals must be modest and reachable.

    Section 1: The Case Against Poverty Eradication  1. The Development Delusion  2. Semantics  3. Culture  4. Confounders  5. The Perversion of Idealism  Section 2: The Case for Continued Engagement in Fighting Poverty  6. Fighting the Good Fight  7. The Pursuit of Happiness  8. The Ends of poverty


    Adam D. Kiš is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the International Studies Program at Burman University in Canada. He holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Florida, USA. He has lived and worked in the United States, Benin, Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Madagascar, the Philippines and Canada.

    "Anyone thinking about a career in international development needs to read this book - a dose of reality therapy about what can go wrong and how to make things go right. If program directors take the lessons of this book seriously, the results of their efforts will be less costly and more effective - a win for everyone."H. Russell Bernard, Research Professor, Arizona State University, USA

    "Finally those of us who have been looking for a balanced approach to international development as a field of practice and study have a book we can confidently refer our colleagues and students to that offers a truly realistic assessment of the possibilities and challenges involved in this line of work." Øystein S. LaBianca, Professor, Andrews University, USA

    "This thought-provoking book offers a sound analysis of development and its misconceptions. The proposition that development has failed is hard to accept but arguments presented are undisputable. Feeling inspired to keep development uncomplicated and yet pioneering and people-focused are key takeaways for me." Denison Grellmann, CEO, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), New Zealand

    "The Development Trap is a must read for those in development work. As someone who has worked in humanitarian aid, Adam Kiš brings a breath of fresh air to the question 'can we end poverty altogether?' No donor should continue to give hand outs before reading this practical and insightful book."Luc Sabot, former Country Director for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Laos, Canada

    "The author has lived among the poorest of the poor in Africa and elsewhere and brings a fresh, middle ground, alternative perspective to arguments that have become increasingly polemical. This is the book to read to understand economic and social development in all its complexities, and it is clearly and engagingly written."Edward C. Green, formerly Senior Research Scientist, Harvard University, USA