Sociology And Development Movie Review
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The question of space is becoming an increasingly key theme in economic discussion, especially in relation to rural-urban migrations and/or linkages. The World Bank Development Report conceptualizes space along three dimensions: density, distance and division.
Density is about the groups of people living within the same space (such as cities). This includes the concentration of business investments, which also translates to job clusters, among others. This, according to the report, explains why cities enjoy major and faster economic growth than the rural. A good example of how density can work for economic growth can be seen in the report’s juxtaposition of the two Turkey cities, Istanbul and Erzurum. Istanbul has continued to boom, thanks to a wave of investments that have arrived in the wake of Istanbul’s expanding trade with Europe. On the other hand, Erzurum that once enjoyed good growth, has lagged behind as more people have moved to Istanbul.
This is not to say that the entire rural should move to the urban areas. On the contrary, the concept of density means that the rural can also be leveraged to join the race for economic growth. However, the rural has been sidelined by the distance between them and cities. In this regard, the rural population has been separated from the amenities necessary for economic prosperity: jobs, good education, etc. However, it is not necessarily the question of distance, but the ability for people to transcend such distances. The rural and the urban can be brought together by the availability of good transportation network, but also by making such movement cheaper. Otherwise, it only becomes possible for the financially well-placed people to move about, while the poor are kept in the same places with no much hope to upward mobility. In other words, the division between the rich and the poor remains the same.
The report covers a number of examples of how geographical distance can hurt economic growth. One of the interviewees cites national boundaries between African states as one of the problems that have stood against economic growth in the continent. For example, it takes longer to move goods from one place to the final destination and the final consumers. The longer it takes the more it costs, thereby discouraging investments.
All these issues are connected to a more holistic view of economic growth; that it is not possible to speak of economic growth when other aspects (such as poverty) have been left out. Originally, development was measured in terms of Gross National Product (GNP). However, it was realized that GNP was not reflective of the reality, leaving out poverty, human conditions and living standards. Today, poverty is central to discussions of economic growth. This new focus places emphasis on having economic growth speak for everyone: both the urban and the rural (Finnemore, 1997).
The report generally seems to place the blame on the structures tasked with ensuring these divisions do not exist; that there are infrastructure to make such movement (the gapping of density) and achievement of density possible. In this regard, the report praises China and blames the African governments. However, on his part, Cooper (1997) argues that the failings in achieving new economic aspects in some areas (such as Africa) do not necessarily have to do with the infrastructure, but the psyche of the population, the ability of the population to adjust to the new, accept and embrace it. Particularly, Cooper (1997) believes that the laxity of Africans to accept change (including the willingness to embrace modern agricultural practices). In other words, this new definition of economic development (in relation to space) is not just a matter market forces, but also how the people embrace these forces.
Cooper, F. (1997). Modernizing Bureaucrats, Backward Africans, and the Development
Concept. In F. Cooper & R. Packard (Eds.), International Development and the Social Sciences: Essays on the History and Politics of Knowledge. Berkeley: University of California Press
Finnemore, M. (1997). Redefining Development at the World Bank. In F. Cooper &
R. Packard (Eds.), International Development and the Social Sciences: Essays on the History and Politics of Knowledge. Berkley: University of California Press
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