Friday, May 11, 2007

Development - in what direction?

A couple of weeks ago, I was watching this show called 'The Other Side of Outsourcing' on Discovery Channel. I don't think I will go into details on what happened on the show. Rather I will talk about my opinions - many of which were presented in the show as well. This is not a well-researched, 'objective' report on outsourcing and poverty and stuff. It is more a personal opinion on these issues.


My feelings towards outsourcing is mixed. I have come across a few blogs that speak about outsourcing from the point of view of people whose countries are outsourcing. That also came out in the show I was talking about, although only a bit. I will be talking about it not in terms of depriving people of their jobs in their own countries but from the perspective of a person who lives in a country to which such jobs are outsourced.


I think outsourcing is good. It has created a lot of job opportunities for people here. Many people are earning what was not possible in the past. The 'quality' of life has improved for a lot of people. However, the whole aspect of having to live in the time zone and simulated culture of another country is something I am skeptical about. I think that is very unhealthy and we are going to end up with a whole new problem on our hands. I think we already have ended up with many issues.


Anyways, this development is great. However, this development has not trickled down to majority of the population. 40% of Indians are still living below the poverty line - that means on less than 2 US$ a day. There has been no change in their situation. In fact, I believe their situation is taking a turn for the worse. It is these people that are shuffled around and displaced* and dislocated for allowing 'development' to take place. Like pointed out in the show, these people are contributing to the outsourcing boom - by working as daily wage-earning construction workers.


That being said, I simply want to raise some questions. This post is not about simply presenting opinions. Neither it is about providing answers. I simply wish to raise questions and to think about the issue.


We talk about development. What is development? Is it like being the West? Is it by measuring our 'quality' of life against the 'quality' of life in the West? Who has canonized what is development? This has been something that I have been thinking about it. It's when I was watching the show, this whole concept of 'canonized' crystallized in my head. Is there an alternate definition for development? Shouldn't development be inclusive and touch all people involved?


You can watch the program on You Tube. It's a 45 minutes stuff.


* I spoke a little bit about the people being displaced in this post.


Disclaimer: As said earlier, this is not a well-researched piece. Neither am I an expert in development. I am simply sounding off my thoughts regarding these issues. Most of it is based on what I have seen, heard and experienced both in my personal life and in my profession as a development worker.

15 comments:

The Mahathma said...

u practicing for some essay writing competition

Bungi said...

LOL... No. Why do you ask?! I was only expressing my opinion...

The Mahathma said...

haha! the latter part of the essay looked like tht! reminded me of school!

actually outsourcing - well i dnt want to get into a discussion.. but most of the work tht is outsourced to india in junk... and u have to realise tht lot of ppl lose their jobs abroad because of it.. I AM NEVER FOR IT...

Bungi said...

You do have a point there... The only good i can see of it is, a lot of people are able to see a lot more money than they would have thought possible. That is all...

The Mahathma said...

ok agreed ! no mood to argue actualy1! its so hot here! just had a beer ice cold beer :-) ... i wish i was outsourced to switzerland

The Mahathma said...

im puttin u on my blog ok

Michi said...

Sorry, long comment ahead...
I like the question you posed: is [development] being like the West? It's a good question because I think that many times when some locales in other countries start to develop, they may take on Western development as an example. Which can be unfortunate because sometimes they lose a way of life that was beneficial to the country and its people - and core to its culture. For example, in Spain, it is traditional for people to have their daily siesta and close shop in the afternoon. It's a time for people to rest, spend time with their families and friends, etc. But many parts of Spain have now taken on a form of 'Western development/culture' which have led many to take on the ideology of living to work, instead of working to live. I completely support improving everyone's quality of life, but I also think it can be done while still staying grounded. It's quite sad how materialistic and corporate our world has become.

Bungi said...

Michi - Yeah. I agree. I see the same thing happening in India. It's a pity. I think each of the countries that are developing needs to take a second look at development and see how best to incorporate it into the culture of the land than just impose on in...

editorialninja said...

what?!? no new entry?!?! SLACKKER!! ;)

an u thought i was gonna say somethg profound on globalisation

The Mahathma said...

I love to append I say to whatever i say :p ... I say :p

Bungi said...

Ninja - I did think that! @#*#%

The Mahathma said...

An English princess with an Egyptian boyfriend crashes in a French tunnel, driving a German car with a Dutch engine, driven by a Belgian who was drunk on Scottish whisky, (check the bottle before you change the spelling) followed closely by Italian Paparazzi, on Japanese motorcycles; treated by an American doctor, using Brazilian medicines. This is sent to you by an American, using Bill Gates’s technology, and you’re probably reading this on your computer, that use Taiwanese chips, and a Korean monitor, assembled by Bangladeshi workers in a Singapore plant, transported by Indian lorry-drivers, hijacked by Indonesians, unloaded by Sicilian longshoremen, and trucked to you by Mexican illegals.....

That, my friends, is Globalization!!

publish it i say :p

Me said...

Well written!
I wonder what is development. I was reading this article about how the artists and lawyers were protesting the lack of artistic freedom to say and do (what with all the obscene charges and effigy burning)
and some TISS professor commenting that our society is trying to progress toward western values of being more tolerant to other views or protest or some such thing.
UGH.
I don't think being able to protest better or being more open about artistic freedom is necessarily a western thing.
Nor is development being like the west.
I think development is about our opening our minds to new possibilities or even old ones long forgotten but most imp, just being open.

Bungi said...

I personally think that true development is when one's neighbour doesn't have to go without food while one's table is full of awesome food.

I think we have fallen into this trap of thinking that we are developing only if 'my' life is comfortable and only when my rights are not infringed upon, etc. True development, i think, will come to the world only when we are willing to look beyond ourselves and our things.

Well, that is how it would be in the ideal world, i suppose. Till then, lets do the best that we can with what we have...

Bungi said...

Me, can you send me the link to the article that you mentioned? Think i'd like to read it. Jus trying to get perspectives on this. :)