What do we mean by development?

Many would argue that development in practice means becoming Western, developing western economic, political and social systems. Countries are often judged to be developed/undeveloped depending on how well they match up to the ‘advanced’ economies of the world. And yet it is the ‘advanced’ economies of the world that are having the greatest impact on the global climate!

Imagine if every country in the world were to ‘enjoy’ the consumption levels that are the norm in the advanced economies – the natural world simply could not stand the impact. So if to become developed is to become like us, then we are heading for disaster! The model of development that is being pursued across the world is leading us all into a global and ecological crisis. Development is sited as a way out of poverty and poverty is more often than not described in economic terms. But here is a definition of poverty from an indigenous community in Brazil.


Poverty is when: You are disconnected from the Spirit, disconnected from Community and when you don’t have enough to share.

I wonder what our models of development would look like if we adopted this approach to poverty?

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