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Millennium Development Goals, Conflicts, And Prospects For The Future: Lesotho

1543 words - 7 pages

A decade before the United Nations established the Millennium Development Goals, an anthropologist named James Ferguson wrote a book called The Anti-Politics Machine, highlighting the damaging effects of so-called “development” on Lesotho. Much of this stemmed from a lack of consideration of the real economic and political situation in Lesotho. Similar development packages are used in many “Third World” countries and indicators such as GDP growth are used without consideration of things such as government organization and political parties or the social realities of the people living within countries. The use of results-based management, i.e. the looking at of quantity-based indicators rather than the quality of development, has been an ongoing criticism of the Millennium Development Goals. (Van Norren) Although the failed Thaba-Tseka Development Project occurred in the 1970s and 80s, I believe it is important today to look at whether the Millennium Development Goals are impacting impact Lesotho positively or if they make the mistake continuing what Ferguson called the “development discourse fantasy.” This fantasy Ferguson talks about leads to unrealistic goals and puts more power in the hands of the state. (Ferguson)
The UN Millennium Development Goals are as follows: eradicate extreme hunger and poverty; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and global partnership for development. At face value, these sound like worthy goals for the world to strive toward. However, the achievement of these goals and the positive impact, if any, these have on development depends on the state of the international system and what one believes to be the purpose of development. In looking at the progress and effects of the MDGs and approaching development from the viewpoints of liberalism, Marxism, and constructivism, I will try to make a convincing argument as to how constructivism can best explain the current international system and why the Millennium Development Goals, though most are not bad goals in and of themselves for states to pursue, are not very beneficial to Lesotho or the rest of the developing world, at least in their current form.
The orthodox view of development is that poverty is caused by a lack of material needs and the solution is a transformation of subsistence to industrial, commodified economies. Although the UN Development Programme, which has been doing work in Lesotho since 1974, has done work to promote the alternative view that poverty is a lack of material and non-material needs, development programs, as a result of not looking enough at societal groups, basically adopted a liberal, orthodox way of dealing with development. In looking at Ferguson’s studies of failed development after 1975 in Lesotho, a huge part of the problem was that the World Bank...

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