"The basic purpose of development is to enlarge
people's choices. In principle, these choices can be
infinite and can change over time. People often value
achievements that do not show up at all, or not
immediately, in income or growth figures: greater access
to knowledge, better nutrition and health services, more
secure livelihoods, security against crime and physical
violence, satisfying leisure hours, political and
cultural freedoms and sense of participation in
community activities. The objective of development is to
create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long,
healthy and creative lives." - Mahbub ul Haq
Links to the
reference in UN Development Programs
I disagree with the quote and the tenets of human
development as proposed through the UN Development
Program. The basic purpose of development as I see it is
self-knowledge, so the need for more choices are
eliminated per person, but differentiated among people.
I also disagree that "the objective of development is
to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy
long, healthy and creative lives."
In my opinion, saying that the objective of
development is a long, healthy and creative life is an emergent set
of properties that extends from a flawed paradigm of
unlimited physical resources and in large part is not
The objective of development should in fact be
an enabling environment, but not for the long, healthy
and creative life...but for a life of knowing one's
self. However long that is, however healthy it can be
and however creative it is depends on things that we as
of yet, have no control over.
One of the reasons that the
efficacy of so many development programs is
continuing to produce diminishing returns: poverty,
children in poverty, child mortality and death from
hunger is the current leadership paradigm is flawed.
Clearly, a system stemming
from the quote/system described above by the UN is
resource intensive in some ways and not enough in
Here's my point: if I give
you a fish, then I have to keep giving you fish, and
you learn to come and collect your fish. What's
more, you teach your children and those around you
to come and get fish.
Look at the basics of most
They are teaching people to
learn to collect fish, that someone will take care
of them, provide for them if they will do x, or y or
z. Now, I don't want to generalize here and
throw the baby out with the bath water, there are a
lot of good programs teaching fishing.
Yet, in general they, when
they do, merely perpetuate the meritocracy that has
arisen out of blank slate..."that if you will just
work hard enough, do the right things, go to the
right schools, etc., you'll have what everyone else
This entire paradigm of
leadership is off the mark.
What has to shift in my view
is the attention to self-knowlege--not
self-improvement. Too many people today are
confusing three things:
They are not the same thing
and they should not be necessarily inclusive because
not all people will grow in self-awareness with
self-knowledge and in most cases, people should NOT
be working on self-improvement!
I realize this comes as a
shock to most people because that's all the "blank
slate" paradigm says and conditions. Find a gap and
On the contrary, if we focus
our available resources in providing enabling
systems that continuously create opportunity for
self-knowledge, we need fewer choices for everyone,
hence we conserve valuable physical resources.
Don't bring rural people
into the 21st century, take the 21st century to
Don't cause children to
learn every subject, let them focus on those they
are good at...and you say, "what will this do to our
children in the future when they need to understand
how to balance their checkbook?"
Believe me folks, there are
systems, which can balance your checkbook, you don't
need to know math, and believe me, most of the
people who THINK they know math, don't know it, in
fact they know it well enough to not only be
dangerous to themselves, but to everyone around
them--to be easily influenced because of "thinking
they know" by people who know they don't know.
Do you see the dangerous
paradigm we've succumbed to in our educational
If I didn't know math (or
think I did), I'd find someone who did...and in 90%
of the cases, I'd be better off for two reasons:
1. I went to an expert.
2. I didn't miss doing what
I should do because I hate math (balancing my
The same applies in human
development in a modern age.
We need post modern
thinking...but more so than just a bunch of
psycho-babble being proffered today, we need to
re-innovate the way we see the world.
Poor people are poor because
they don't have leadership...it's that simple, it's
not because they don't have food!
You take any person without
food and give them a leader and they'll find, grow,
or come up with food.
The crises today is not
hunger, the crisis today is leadership!
I have written extensively about coaching and all
the items that I mentioned above. If you wish to
read more intensively about any of the topics I
mentioned, feel free to visit my personal
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