Struggle for Development

By Benjamin Selwyn

The central objective of human development should be to alleviate the condition of the world’s poor. The dominant economic ideas of the last 30 years, Neoliberalism, have failed in this regard. State led development appears as the natural and obvious alternative to neoliberalism. Many socialists think that we should use the state to guide economic growth and development in the hope that some of the benefits of this growth will trickle down to the poor masses. The economic growth and industrialisation of formerly underdeveloped areas, in particular China, increases the attraction of state led over free market models of development. However, state led development, like neoliberalism, sees the objective as being economic growth and industrialisation.

Even where this has been particularly successful, in the Asian Tiger countries and China, it has certainly created wealth, but this has been concentrated in the hands of a few. It has not fundamentally changed the lives of the majority of the population and poverty is still common place. There are many other examples where a neoliberal rather than state late development approach has actually achieved economic growth, but this has also not led to significant benefits for the majority of the population.

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