Sunday, July 01, 2007

Developmentalism--The Newest "-ism"

Here is an article that claims "developmentalism" should be considered a new evil, along with communism, socialism, and fascism. Of course, when you look at how these countries have tried to implement this "developmentalism," the reason why the idea of development is failing becomes obvious:


The power of Developmentalism is disheartening, because the failure of all the previous ideologies might have laid the groundwork for the opposite of ideology—the freedom of individuals and societies to choose their destinies. Yet, since the fall of communism, the West has managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and with disastrous results. Development ideology is sparking a dangerous counterreaction. The “one correct answer” came to mean “free markets,” and, for the poor world, it was defined as doing whatever the IMF and the World Bank tell you to do. But the reaction in Africa, Central Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Russia has been to fight against free markets. So, one of the best economic ideas of our time, the genius of free markets, was presented in one of the worst possible ways, with unelected outsiders imposing rigid doctrines on the xenophobic unwilling.

Countries should be free. And if they're smart, they'll use that freedom to implement freedom for their people. The correct answer is free markets. Using crazy policies proposed by the International Monetary Fund (an infamously disastrous organization which constantly leaves failed economies in its wake) or the World Bank is an oxymoron. While I agree that the IMF and World Bank could legitimately be blamed for the failure of what people seem to think are "free" markets, I disagree that it is because outsiders are the one's proposing it. It's because those proposals are failures.

This dovetails in nicely with the previous article I discussed at Prospect Magazine. Both articles are based in the idea of self-determination for countries. I am all for sovereignty. Go sovereignty!! But it would be ridiculous to pretend that all outcomes are valid because they were the result of local decisions. By all means, let the countries decide for themselves what their economics and politics should be--but if they're smart, they'll choose a rights-respecting government and laissez-faire capitalism (for all the reasons laid out by Ayn Rand and the philosophers who thought in the same vein before her).

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