22 December 2011

Ed Carr on Globalization and Development

Ed Carr is interviewed by Keith Kloor for Yale environment 360.  Carr discusses his book Delivering Development: Globalization’s Shoreline, and the Road to a Sustainable Future in the context of development and environmental change.  I am about halfway through the book myself and have enjoyed the challenge Carr has set by focusing on a pair of rural communities in Ghana.

One part that stands out in the book is Carr's treatment of globalization.  This section from the e360 interview captures a very small section of the book's discussion:
e360: In your book, you write that, “the single greatest misconception shaping contemporary views of development and globalization is the idea that the problems of poverty in the developing world are the result of the absence of development.” Can you explain? 
Carr: When we look at the global poor, when we look at people living on a dollar a day, there’s this assumption that development does no harm. That is to say, we couldn’t make things worse for these people so we ought to be trying everything all the time. That’s sort of the Jeffrey Sachs logic, that we have to be doing something and not just sit here. But this fails to grasp the ways in which people are already doing great things to make a living and in fact a nonproductive intervention could undermine those things and do real damage.
The book itself reads as the anti-The World is Flat as Carr argues that people are not necessarily chasing globalization.  I will save further comments when writing a full review, but I do suggest giving the book a read and checking out the e360 interview.