Jonathan Glennie: Development Does Not Stop With Ending Poverty

Development is not only about efforts to end absolute poverty, it also involves protecting human dignity and ending injustice, a research fellow at a U.K.-based think tank and former nonprofit official says.

The international community has made considerable progress in improving the lives of people in some of the world’s poorest countries, Jonathan Glennie writes in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters” blog.

“But there is more to poverty than absolute poverty,” he argues. “The hundreds of millions of people working in sweatshops are not living in absolute poverty. Nor are families moved off their land so that it can be ‘developed’ for mining, industrial farming or mega dams. Women and minorities who suffer persecution are not poor in an absolute sense.”

He says that development is also about tackling the challenges faced by these groups of people, specifically injustice, violence and the inability to live their lives in dignity. It remains to be seen whether current development efforts, targets and goals would be able to address these challenges, Glennie notes.

“But one thing is certain. In each generation there will be new battles against injustice that will require new allies to fight alongside people being oppressed or repressed,” he says.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.