“More than half the people of the world are living in conditions approaching misery. Their food is inadequate, they are victims of disease. Their economic life is primitive and stagnant. Their poverty is a handicap and a threat both to them and to more prosperous areas. For the first time in history, humanity possesses the knowledge and the skill to relieve the suffering of these people….I believe that we should make available…the benefits of our store of technical knowledge in order to help them realize their aspirations for a better life”.
-January 20, 1949, President Truman’s inaugural speech
I have been involved with the idea of international development for several years both within academia and a practical capacity. The idea of ‘third world’ development as outlined in Truman’s speech, is commonly taught in International Development Studies programs throughout North American Universities. For a variety of reasons, I have become disheartened with the understanding that ‘development’ must take place in the so-called ‘third world’ and have instead turned my efforts towards what this development process looks like in the ‘first world’.
The intention of this blog, is to display the forms of international development in North America. Often disconnected from the issues and peoples they aim to ‘help’, forms of consumerism, pop culture and academia dominate the realm of development in North America. While I hope to critically examine these forms of development, I would also like to share challenges to this understanding of development. While a single understanding of ‘overseas development’ often pervades North American understandings, there are individuals, films and novels that are working to create more complex ideas of who the ‘third world’ is and what ‘development’ in their societies may entail.
The documentation of development efforts in this blog are meant to evoke conversation and debate. Any comments or critiques are welcome.