'Do we need to grow? Problematizing growth economy in development'
When: 21 and 22 November 2016
Where: International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands
Discussions on development often focus on “economic” development—specifically on how to push growth (i.e., achieving higher GDP) for countries that are considered as "still developing". This mainstream view is very much based on the "western centred”, neoliberal idea of development and growth.
Discussions on development often focus on “economic” development—specifically on how to push growth (i.e., achieving higher GDP) for countries that are considered as "still developing". This mainstream view is very much based on the "western centred”, neoliberal idea of development and growth. The pursuers of such development, especially so-called advanced countries and large emerging economies such as BRICs, have benefited from such models, but have also long been struggling with severe side effects such as increasing inequality as well as repeated economic crises and stagnation.
Non-mainstream models of economic development
Recently, an increasing number of economists have started to question the existing idea of economic growth (e.g., Ha Joon Chang, Stiglitz, Piketty). At the same time, countries are emerging with their own ideas and models of development, which do not necessarily prioritize economic development or growth per se.
- Ecuador has decided to revitalize the idea of "buen vivir" (Catherine Walsh 2010).
- Uruguay recently had José Mujica as its president with an interesting perspective in terms of growth (see the following discussions from the Economist and Fortune).
- Bhutan rejected the GDP and developed the Gross National Happiness (GNH) as its national growth commitment.
In addition to exploring these non-mainstream macro models of economy, scholars from different disciplines have also raised the importance of exploring the economic formations that are based on social relations, such as the gift economy (David Cheal 2015), reciprocity (Serge-Christophe Kolm 2008), and social relations of obligation (David Sneath 1993), in order to fully understand the interconnectedness between the macro and micro mechanism of economy and their impacts on society.
Do we need growth to develop?
By going beyond the dominant discourse on economy, we can start to question if, in order to “develop”, we actually need growth? If yes, what kinds of growth are we talking about? Is there a possibility to have a balanced growth? What are the components of this balance in growth? From these questions, the 14th Development Dialogue would like to invite scholars in the area of development studies to look at ideas of development and growth from different fields and perspectives. The aim is to decentre the discussions of development and growth in terms of geography, worldviews and disciplines.
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