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Different Schools of Development Thought and Beliefs About Leadership

Different Schools of Development Thought and Beliefs About Leadership

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Published by: murphman on Sep 18, 2012
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Different Schools of Development, Different Beliefs about the State, Different Thinking about Leaders
FrameworkHeydayKey Proponents
View the state's role in development asDevelopment needsView leaders as
Leadership can be improved
Relationship to reality…
Modernists1950s-1970sDevelopment economistssuch as Myrdal, and Rostow,the World BankState capacity is endogenous todevelopment. That is: improved economicperformance leads to democracy and bettergovernanceCapital - aid or internationalinvestmentBystanders (I think). Probably withlittle agency.A country developing moregenerallyApparently debunked by debt crisis and thefailure of aid to spark economictransformation in most countries. Also, thebest econometric evidence suggests thatgood governance causes economicdevelopment and not the other way round.Neo-liberalism1980s-1990sDevelopment economistssuch as Ann Krueger, HelenHughes, and even JeffreySachs some of the time.People like Dambisa Moyo.The World Bank and IMFAn impediment. Government failures aretoo extreme to ever allow the state to helpovercome market failures. All the state cando is distort price signals and facilitate rentseeking. (Noting that a softer form of neo-liberalism - 'The Third Way' (a la Giddens) -would say the state should stay out of theeconomic sphere but should also providebasic services such as health andeducation).Market liberalisation, tradeliberalisation, foreign directinvestment.Evil rent seekers unless they happento be educated at Harvard or Chicagoin which case they will defy the basicmodel of human behaviourunderpinning this worldview andreturn to their home countries wherethey will conduct enlightenedeconomic liberalisation and not steala penny, honest.Educating leaders ineconomics. Or constrainingtheir power to act.Reality has not, as a whole, been kind to thisschool of thought. Countries that followed itsprescriptions have tended to have worsegrowth outcomes than those who haven't.And ongoing catestophic market melt downssuggest that the invisible hand is a prettyshakey one. However, it is possible to arguethat some of the reforms promoted by neo-liberals have had positive impacts.HumanDevelopment1990s-2000sAmartya Sen, Jeffrey Sachs,UNDP, the MDGs, the WorldBank, quite a few aidprogrammesOften as an unproblematic provider of social services; however some proponentsmay be advocates of the governanceagenda too, because they believe that thestate needs to work well to provide servicesInvestment in health and education.Either because economic developmentalone can't be guaranteed to bring withit human development (weakhypothesis), or because investing inhuman capital is a key driver of economic growth (strong hypothesis -Jeffrey Sachs is the key proponent of this).Largely irrelevant.Not an area that this schoolengages with much.In terms of the weak hypothesis there's fairlyconvincing evidence that economicdevelopment plays a major role in fosteringhuman development (at least in poorercountries). However, there is alsoconsiderable variation around this broadtrend that suggests that direct work in healthand education work can help significantly too.Re the strong version of the hypothesis mosteconomists seem to believe that DaronAcemoglu killed Jeffrey Sachs' evidence;however, maybe this isn't fair.NewInstitutionalists /Good governancelate 1990s-2000sDaron Acemoglu, JamesRobinson, Douglas North,Daniel Kaufman, the WorldBank, many aid agencies.Essential - although not usually as a directdriver of development but rather as anenforcer of rules and contracts and aprovider of property rights and a levelplaying field.Good institutions to provide peoplewith the security to invest and innovate(and the potential to profit frominnovations, providing incentives toinnovate).Having little agency -- generallyleaders respond to the incentives thattheir own political economies hand tothem.Improving institutions. Changesin internal power dynamics thatforce leaders to accede to theneeds of their populous.Possibly democracy.Some pretty strong econometric evidence forthe general argument that governance /institutions matter. However, this evidencemay not be beyond dispute. Also, the specificmechanisms that link governance to betterdevelopment may be tenuous. For example,property rights sound a theoretically plausiblekey ingredient of development but China'seconomic take off occurred despite peoplenot having de jure property rights.Industrial PolicyHave alwaysbeen around -related to themodernists,but had arevival in2000sRobert Wade, Ha Joon Chang,Dani Rodrik, UNCTAD(?), UNDesa(?), Mushtaq KahnThe state can pick winners. Indeed,development has never occurred exceptwhere the state has intervened in marketsand promoted industrial policy. I thinksomeone like Rodrik would say that this willonly occur if governance is good. Someonelike Kahn OTOH would probably say thatdevelopment can be sparked even in poorlygoverned countries if political economydrives the government to pick the rightwinner.Policy space. Developing countriesshould not have their hands tied byWTO agreements and the like andshould be afforded the room toexperiment with market intervention.Some may argue that good governanceis necessary to make use of this space.Probably view leaders in a similarmanner to the New Institutionalists --as having little agency and beinglargely controlled by politicaleconomy.Not an area that this schoolengages with much. I think.It is likely true that no country has developedwithout engaging in some forms of industrialpolicy and Wade and Chang do some goodwithin country process tracing to show suchinterventions fostering development. On theother hand, proponents have been accused of ignoring the fact that almost every developingcountry has promoted industrial policy atvarious times and most have only done sounsuccessfully.Radical CritiquesPerennialMarxists, anarchists, post-structuralists, radicalacademic feminists, post-development and post-colonial thinkersThis is a very broad collection of differentschools of thought, many of whom aren't on
speaking terms to each other. But…Marxists
and anarchists would tend to argue thattrue development will only occur eitherwith the proletariat capturing the state(Marxists) or destroying it (anarchists). Post-structuralists on the other hand might beinterested in how discourses of development and governance facilitategovernmentality and other means of elitecontrol in developing countries. Postdevelopment types spend their daysinterrogating the concept of developmentand examining how it's discourses legitimiseexploitation and power hierarchies. Postcolonial thinkers focus on how the Others of the developing world are portrayed in thedeveloped world and how this facilitatesglobal exploitation.True development needs a radicalrestructuring of power relations bothbetween states and within them. And,for many of these thinkers, profoundchanges need to occur to the existingrelationship between power andknowledge.Largely as agents of either thedomestic and global elite, and asabusers of power. Some views wouldsee leaders as having relatively littleagency. Some might see them ashaving quite a lot, particularly if theycan control how masses think aboutthe world and promote falseconsciousness.The guillotine. Orempowerment of the masses of some form or other.Some members of some of these schools of thought are openly and proudly hostile to theidea of "'reality'". Others, such as someMarxists and anarchists, arguably have failedto learn the lessons of history when it comesto the plausibility of their versions of utopia.And many within all of these schools probablydo a good job in shining light on the nature of power and its abuses, and the way that powercaptures and shapes supposedly objectiveanalysis -- all of which the more mainstreamschools often shy away from.ParticipatoryDevelopment /Participatorydemocracy1990sonwardsQuite a few NGOs, CarolPateman, Duncan Green,Robert Chambers, sections of the Latin American left.Typically as a necessary provider of servicesand laws, and maybe as a driver of industrial development but, crucially, thiswill only occur if there is considerablepolitical equality and the empowerment of ordinary people.Empowerment of the masses. Power tothe people.Occasionally heroic (if they're fromthe people); otherwise, as by-productsof the power relations they emergefrom. Good if they are truerepresentatives of the people, bad if they are agents of the elites.People power.Quite a lot of history is on their side, andsome experiments in participatorygovernance have gone quite well. Andparticipatory development has addedsubstantially to development practice.However, from the vantage point fromsomeone who was in New Zealand when aportion of the political elite held moreprogressive views on things such as gay rightsand race relations than the masses did, I'mnot sure that popular prejudice isn't a biggerproblem than is afforded by participants inthis school of thought. Also, in sometechnocratic matters (monetary policy forexample), there is perhaps a case forexpertise, and for it being held arm's lengthfrom popular control.Terence WoodSeptember 2012

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