The Modern Development Project ( Mdp )

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Modern development is characterised by industrialisation and the transformation of societies from subsistence agriculture to production based economies. This process both disrupted the cultural values and practices of traditional societies and birthed a consumerist culture. Consequently, societies become fixated on the construct of scarcity, concerned that means are inadequate to satisfy their interminable desires (Polanyi, cited in Sahlins, 1972: 3). Although modern development is conventionally equated with progress, a sociological (rather than purely economic) perspective clearly shows that it also engenders underdevelopment, via means of unequal exchanges. This contradictory nature of the modern development project (MDP), is exposed through a critique of its framework and the false assumptions that it is founded upon. The parameters of this argument draw upon the limitations of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measurement tool, and a deconstruction of the paradox that the MDP creates. A critical historical approach is used in order to expose the bias of history and examine the roots of the inequities present within the modern world. The Cold War climate universalised the state system, resulting in the nation-state becoming the unit of analysis. Under the framework of the MDP development is conceptualised comparatively, each of the states are placed on a continuum from traditional (‘undeveloped’) to modern (‘developed’). Following this logic, the process of

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