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Monday, March 18, 2013

Progress and Development..the real story!

So I forgot to post this last week and decided to do that today.I have been thinking for some time what development or progress is as defined to us and if it truly is progress or development.I know this may seem confusing to some of you so let me try and give an example.
When the World bank gives a GDP for Ghana for example and says Ghana is now a lower middle income country,we usually rejoice and say we are now developing.But let's actually take a look at the situation on the ground and then make that decision for ourselves.This is what I mean.
There are two sides to this coin.The first is a predefined notion of what development in a country is supposed to be when cultural and situational differences determine this.A clear example of this is the setting of a global minimum wage when truthfully,that minimum wage is like 3 times what people in certain nations need for their basic needs to be met.Please note,I didn't say Ghana(lol).

The other side of the coin which concerns me more is the by effect of this so called development.I consider how lifestyles change and the environment is destroyed all in the quest for development and I question if it is true development.We cut down all of our trees to build skyscrapers,begin using fertilizers and pesticides because that's what development is supposed to be,drive cars that emit CFCs into the atmosphere leading to global warming and perhaps most importantly eat ourselves to death.Is this really a price we are willing to pay to say we are now a developed nation?Most developed countries have an epidemic of obesity,Type 2 diabetes and a host of other lifestyle related diseases that a change in lifestyle caused by so called development has brought.They fight  every day trying to fix this but its almost impossible.
We were purely organic farmers in Ghana.Now because of 'progress' and population explosion,we are now eating food grown with chemicals that are killing the farmers applying them to the crops.In a time when people in the 'developed' world are beginning to realise that organic food is best and are actually returning to it,is it true development to just follow in their footsteps?
This is something that we all have to think about.There are far reaching consequences of trying to model our country after the 'developed' world just because we accept blindly that they are developed.Our MPs now demand that we pay them exorbitant salaries simply because Kenya pays their MPs more.Really?When did Kenya become the standard of what we want Ghana to be?Isn't this just ridiculous?After all,don't you agree that people walking the streets of hot Accra in winter jackets is ridiculous?
We do this not just with our economic affairs but with our family and cultural habits.We are modeling our marriages after those in countries that we consider developed, modeling our families after theirs, even dressing more like them than us.Do we really want to go down the same path people have gone and failed?If we're really learning from them why can't we see that they have realised the way they do stuff needs to change?Do we need the divorce rates in our country to reach the level of that in the 'developed' world before we start to question if their methods really work for us?These are just a few examples.Maybe we need to stop copying blindly and start deciding what development and progress truly is in our own country.