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We assume that developed is an exclusively advantageous, more sophisticated, beneficial state of being. Development is viewed almost exclusively as a positive term directly related to a better, more advanced context or state of being. We use the concept of development in a global sense to distinguish the have’s from the have not’s. But what have we developed into? And what do we have and what do we have not? Can we have all things? Can we have all things at the same time? Do we lose certain things in order to gain others?

Perhaps we in the developed world are of the opinion that we have a better, more advanced and even superior life? Perhaps we feel we have a higher standard of living? One of the celebrated aspects of the so-called developed world is a longer life expectancy. But that measurement is quantitative and not necessarily qualitative.

It seems clear that we in the developed world do have more material possessions, more disposable income and we clearly seem to celebrate this as wealth. But why would we work so hard only to dispose of it all so easily? We may live longer but a lot of what we produce doesn’t. A lot of what we produce threatens not only the quantity of our lives but also the quality. The big drive seems to be cost effective production. More at less cost to us. But is this possible? Is it sustainable? A great deal of what we are and what we do is disposable. Sure, we are great at producing stuff, but what do we actually get in return? Of what sustainable value is it?

What comes back at us?

It’s not reasonable to measure wealth only in terms of material benefits? What about non material things such as ethics, justice, equity, respect, honour, honesty, dignity (to submit just a few). Which of these do we need to dispose of in order to make sense for ourselves of what we have spent ourselves for? What energy do we need to spend to justify that which we produce? If we are so creative why would we need so much recreation? What is it we need to re create? Was it not all that good when we created it at first?

So, we are the developed world and development is our game. But what exactly are we developing? … and what are we developing into?


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