Ideas and Actors in international development

In the 1980s, the economic world experienced a resurgence with a shift from the post-war policies. It has been linked with systems of economic liberalization, which include privatization, deregulation, free trade, and minimization of government expenditure to boost the place of private sectors in the economy and society (Haggard et al., 2018). The global change towards neo-liberal economic reforms has impacted many developing countries. For instance, in Asia, countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand have had an encounter with polices. The mentioned states have relatively experienced pro-market policies. Some developing countries such as Ghana, Zaire, and Zambia have experienced neoliberalism where the rules have reduced their roles and welfare functions. The reason for most of these African regimes is to ensure that there is the availability of external assistance primarily.

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There are several ways in which the new policies have facilitated development by advancing the economic performance of developing countries. Since 1980, many states have developed their private sectors while citizens have enjoyed a free market where the government owns only a small share (Vogel, 2018). The revolution has promoted the view that economic and political freedom are linked as claimed by Milton Friedman. The theory ensures free regulation of free markets where governments are incompetent. Besides that, evolution has created a policy that deflates the expenditure at macroeconomic levels. For instance, the external debt crisis in India in 1991 held the country in obligation to international payments leading to the adoption of market-friendly policies (Frieden, 2018). Monetarism is another neo-liberal policy that focuses on the maintenance of price stability at the cost of macroeconomic growth. As observed in Chile, monetarism helped raise interest rates as a way of countering inflation. This resulted in losses of jobs, however.

However, this has not been the case for all countries. There are reports of slower growth, imbalanced trade, and adversarial social-economic conditions in several developing countries. Generally, the statements by UNCTAD indicated a higher average trade deficit in the 90s than in the 70s and a lower average growth rate (Siddiqui, 2012 pp12). According to some scholars, neoliberalism has only prioritized economic factors such as GDP and inflation at the expense of social factors such as labor rights and the provision of higher education. According to Mark Fleming, the increased focus on economic efficiency in a transit system could cause social actors such as workers’ rights to be overlooked.

Over the last two decades, Amartya Sen’s capability approach has gained ground in political philosophy and economics among scholars, international agencies, and nongovernmental organizations. The process enhances the abilities of individuals by offering freedom. The approach views individuals as ones with emotional and psychological needs. The plan presents a comprehensive way that shifts the attention from resources to human beings well being and putting individuals at the center (Liu et al., 2018 pp128-146). There are several strengths to this approach. Firstly, it is emphatic on the value of having freedom of choice, heterogeneity, and general welfare. It regularly handles the basic functioning and activities that constitute a human being. These may vary from safety, self-respect, calmness, and health. While evaluation of capability is demanding of information with limited precision, the approach by Sen has proved that it is possible to provide many details where the only possible assessment is of essential capabilities.

However, the approach is limited in several ways. Firstly, it is based on the evaluation of detailed accounts of information concerning the quality of human lives. This implies that the main concern is the correct use of information for assessment instead of not building appropriate information collection and evaluation bureaucracy (Aven, 2016 pp1-13). Besides that, the approach is, in a way, inconsiderate to communal values and culture with an excessive focus on individuals. This puts more emphasis on the social arrangements of individuals and excludes the consideration of the irreducibly social aspects such as moral norms and political structure. This limits the approach compared to the Nussbaum approach that accommodates people to acquire a conception of a dignified human life in cooperation with others.

Additionally, the approach’s focus seems to impose an external valuation of an excellent life-promoting illiberalism. The theory is meant to bring individuals conception of the good life rather than aim at the fair allocation of general-purpose resources. According to Rawls, the approach is concerned with the analysis of the achievements of individuals, which requires a substantive view of what is considered as a good life. The plan also lacks objectivity (Fia et al., 2018 pp1-24). Hence, it is under-theorized. There is no approval of critical capabilities and their distribution as compared to other methods such as Martha Nussbaum.


Works Cited

Aven, Terje. “Risk assessment and risk management: Review of recent advances on their foundation.” European Journal of Operational Research 253.1 (2016): 1-13.

Fia, Magali, and Lorenzo Sacconi. “Justice and corporate governance: New insights from Rawlsian social contract and Sen’s capabilities approach.” Journal of Business Ethics (2018): 1-24.

Frieden, Jeffry A. Modern political economy and Latin America: theory and policy. Routledge, 2018.

Haggard, Stephan, and Robert R. Kaufman, eds. The politics of economic adjustment: international constraints, distributive conflicts, and the state. Princeton University Press, 2018.

Liu, Laura B., Huan Song, and Pei Miao. “Navigating individual and collective notions of teacher wellbeing as a complex phenomenon shaped by national context.” Compare: a journal of comparative and international education 48.1 (2018): 128-146.

Siddiqui, Kalim. “Developing countries’ experience with neoliberalism and globalization.” Research in Applied Economics 4.4 (2012): 12.

Vogel, Steven K. Freer markets, more rules: Regulatory reform in advanced industrial countries. Cornell University Press, 2018.