Development Ethics and Globalization – David Crocker

 In Development Ethics and Globalization, David Crocker explores Globalization and all the questions that it exposes and uncovers in today’s world. These questions start from things so basic, as is globalization a good/bad thing to detailed plans on how to go about globalization in order to provide the most benefit for all those involved. I thought that Crocker did an amazing job on this article. Not only does it fully get across the idea of how pressing and how complicated this issue is through use of stating endless questions about every complications, but it also did a very good job of defining all these new terms and ideas and really presenting the ideas in a non-biased, matter of fact way.Crocker begins by describing the environment from which development ethics emerged. Its roots trace back to Gandhi, Prebisch and Fanon, all activists and social critics who “criticized colonialism and orthodox economic development.” (13) By the 1960’s the concept of “development” was under fire and speculation as some asked whether development actually increased the already horrible conditions in many third world countries. (13) One of the big pushes of these development ethicists was to redefine how we rate the quality of life in a country. Usually a money figure is given; those that have a high GNP are thought to be okay, while those with a low GNP are thought of as third world countries. Many, like Sen, have argued that this is a bad way to see how your country is doing. They instead argue that there is a need for a more complete description, which gives areas of weakness and strength, something one can actually enact policy to correct. (13) This is an idea that I am already familiar with as it brought up, somewhere, in most of Nussbaum’s writing about the capabilities theory. I, of course, agree.Aside from questions regarding how to assess development, there are also many questions about the impact of development, like is it even a good thing, or how to regulate it, or how do we promote good development, whatever that may be. (14) The conclusion that Crocker writes about is that “development ethicists generally agree that development projects and aid givers must aim to achieve both human well-being and a healthy environment.” (14) This of course rules out development that negatively affects “human living conditions” and “political liberties”. (14) The part that I am not so sure of when it comes to assessing development is developmental ethicists’ belief that development must be monitored by many countries and cultures in order to be more rounded in their sensitivity. Honestly, I think that A) government would hate other countries poking around in their business all the time and B) it is nice to think that all cultures could come to a rational conclusion but there are just some inherent differences in cultures. Say for example the U.S. thinks that a coca cola bottling company would be a great economic advantage in Iran and all the monitoring countries of Iran agree, but Iran doesn’t want a Coca Cola bottling company, what then? Is
Iran withholding good development from its citizens? And how much power do the monitoring countries have? I am not usually so cynical about plans like these, but I do believe in a universal policy on development, it just seems to idealistic.
Another point that Crocker brings to light is the questions of “the status of various moral norms”. (15)  In this debate, there are two different camps, the Universalists and the Particularists. The Universalists think that there some universal “goals and principles” that must be abided by all countries. The Particularists think the opposite, that there are either no universal principles regulating development which is similar to the idea that each nation should use its culture as a check for development. (15) Of course there is a fusion of these two, like Sen and Nussbaum’s “emphasis on valuable and valued human freedoms and achievements” (15)

Crocker writes at length about the capabilities approach and even dubs it “the most promising approach to the normative dimensions of development ethics and globalization” (16-17) The most important and things that Crocker states in the his article (i think) is from this sections. Crocker writes that “the extent to which these elements of globalization enhance, secure, or restore human capabilities will depend on context and especially on how a national polity integrates and shapes global forces.” (17) I think that this is a very centered view. I think that anyone who says that globalization while be great for everyone is just a wront as those who say it teribble for all but a few. I like this control that Crocker infused into globalization, the idea that before globalization gets out of hand, we need to answer these questions and inforce policy. I like this mostly because this article is a lot of questions and multiple possiblities but it is nice to see an insistance on actually applying something, which is nothing something you always see in a promotion of the capabilities approach.

Published in: on September 20, 2006 at 12:08 am  Leave a Comment  

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