Dissanayake: A Formula for Development?

    There are many paths to achieving better incomes, life expectancy, health and education. These paths, according to Ranil Dissanayake, will ultimately result in differing types of economy and society. However, the economist-historian deems that development policy is not able to consider “the myriad approaches to development.”

    Dissanayake says: “From the developing country side, the mania for strategies, visions and plans, while well intentioned, seeks to hit specific targets rather than laying out a conception of what kind of society and economy is desired.” 

    Following this line of reasoning, development policy should be tailored for each country, Dissanayake writes in a blog published by “Aid Thoughts,” stressing that “perhaps we should be looking at how the population, state, geography etc. might best develop as a functioning economic and social structure, rather than focusing on the outcomes and outputs that these structures are supposed to achieve to merit the tag ‘developed.’”

    Dissanayake concludes: “There are good reasons why we focus on incomes, health and such – these are the real experiences of people. But perhaps, in keeping with the modern obsession for measurement, we’re focusing on the wrong end of the development process.” 

    About the author

    • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

      As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.