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   Submitted to Brandt Commission

 February 1979

Development is an artificial process, known only in man, whereas growth is natural to all life. Development is an effort to accelerate the slower process of nature by the stimulation of growth in one by another. Occasionally we find mature individuals and societies capable of inducing their own growth, but generally the stimulus must come from outside, i.e. from other persons, other parts of the society, or other countries. Social efforts at development sometimes succeed and often fail. Success occurs when the effort is in conformity with the inherent laws of natural growth. Failure comes when these laws are ignored or violated. The present day problems of pollution and ecological imbalance are instances of failure.

Development is often regarded as an economic process, whereas, in fact, it is a term that applies to a much wider field. Development includes the growth and organisation of the society as a whole, the evolution of human consciousness and culture. All life is integrated; therefore, it is best to view the development process in its wider socio-economic context, considering economic growth as one important area and index of the whole. This is of primary value in evolving policies and programs because the advance of one field is dependent on the support and growth of others as well. Development is most successful where it is initiated simultaneously in many interrelated fields; not only in agriculture and industry, but in education, politics, administration, and culture, too.

Though development is an induced process, it can only take place when the recipient takes active initiative to achieve it. First the individual must become aware of something that has been achieved by others that is within his means or capacity to achieve. He must also feel a certain need or enthusiasm to move from where he is towards something better. Then there must be some pressure of physical necessity or opportunity prompting him to action. His own energies must be set in motion in pursuit of what he understands and what he is enthused about at a time when physical necessity presses. When the awareness, the enthusiasm or the necessity are lacking, man will not develop. In most cases the awareness and necessity are present, the enthusiasm is missing.

For example, in 1969 a new program was introduced in India for adoption of villages by commercial banks. Loans were to be given on low interest terms for cultivation and digging bore wells. The first such effort took place in a backward area where a voluntary organisation had created a successful model project demonstrating the profitability of digging wells and cultivating non-traditional crops. When the bank offered the farmers loans for bore wells, not a single farmer was willing to accept the risk, despite the fact that many successful wells were operating on the model project adjacent to their lands. The farmers were fully aware of the possibilities. There was the pressing physical necessity of water and food scarcity; and there was institutional support. But no one came forward to act. Finally a single poor farmer was approached by the voluntary agency and convinced to dig a well with the agency assuming responsibility in case of failure. The farmer agreed and dug the well successfully. When the other farmers saw that one from among their own group was about to gain immense wealth from his well and advance his position in the village society, all the farmers decided that they too must have wells, and over 450 new wells were dug as a result. In this case, it was the villager's sense of competition with his peers that released the necessary urge and enthusiasm for development.

Education is the key to development. It imparts the essential knowledge, skills and capacities, and creates the awareness of new possibilities. Development efforts have been most successful where education is most advanced. Whatever the program, it can succeed only so far as the foundation of education lends support.

Public opinion is the basis for public policy and therefore it is essential to create a positive climate of public opinion at all levels for the aims and goals of development. Public opinion determines the direction in which the energies of the society are channeled. Education of public opinion and creation of a favorable public climate for development can play a key role in the evolution of future government policy. Usually the process follows a cyclic course. The leaders of society do not accept new ideas and policies until favorable public opinion has already been generated; but the public will not fully accept a new idea until the leadership or elite of the society have accepted it. In 1942 the British government in India evolved a plan for Indian freedom based on partition of the country into separate Hindu and Muslim nations. The Congress Party led by Mahatma Gandhi, representing the Hindus who were in vast majority, rejected the proposal of partition as completely unacceptable. C.Rajagopalachari, known as Rajaji, who was second only to Gandhi in the Congress and who later became the first Governor General of independent India, was the only one who supported the idea of partition as the sole visible means to gain freedom. When the Congress leadership rejected his view, Rajaji quit the party and traveled around the country for three years addressing public meetings on the need for partition. Everywhere he was booed and stoned with great risk to his life. But gradually his viewpoint, which had earlier been considered anathema, gained recognition as one possible solution to the problem. Finally in 1946 the Congress party itself conceded some value to his approach. Rajaji then rejoined the party leadership and succeeded in persuading Gandhi and the others to accept it fully. But this was only possible after he had generated some public support. When the leadership accepted, the public at large followed suit. This is the cycle of public opinion.

What is needed now is a concerted effort to educate public opinion as to the huge possibilities of development. The establishment of the ICIDI, the Independent Commission for International Development Issues, whose members come from the highest ranks of world leadership in politics, economics, administration, and journalism, marks a significant breakthrough in this field. Until now it is primarily the public institutions like UNO which have taken up these issues as a matter of official ideology or policy. They have been supported by private individuals and small organisations dedicated to a more just and equitable international order. But never before has public opinion at the highest level taken a concerted initiative similar to the formation of ICIDI.

The ICIDI has taken the very practical view that world development must be achieved by a viable and mutually beneficial process of interaction between developed and developing countries, not merely on the basis of subsidies and charity. This is a realistic departure from the generally accepted public opinion that development can and must be given to the poor by those who now possess it. Viewing development as a creative process is an attitude that opens up many new fields of opportunity, whereas, viewing it as a redistribution of existing wealth limits activities to a very small field. Without interfering with the basic entrenched forces in society and raising their resistance, there is a great deal that can be done. With minor shifts in attitude within the third world countries many more opportunities can be tapped.

Though the ICIDI has no powers for implementation, it can be a very effective instrument for educating world leadership and the elite of human society through such means as the report now under preparation for presentation to the U.N. later this year. A similar role can be played by international journals dedicated to development. These journals can study the process of development as it has taken place in different parts of the world to identify its basic underlying principles. They can bring to notice successful methods and programs introduced in various countries and recommend their extension to other countries or to the international field. They can study the potential, productwise and countrywise, for increasing mutually beneficial trade between all nations. This study can form the basis for an Encyclopedia of the Economic Potentials of the World. They can recommend changes in outmoded policy and attitudes which will widen the scope for development activities.

Based upon the frame of reference developed by ICIDI, recommendations can be made for implementation in all fields and all levels of social life both national and international. For convenience, we can divide these suggestions into several broad categories which reflect basic principles of development. Taking India as a representative Third World country, a study of its present attitudes, policies, and programs can reveal many things that are applicable to other developing nations and which can be extended to the international sphere as well.

I.          Original imitation of successful ideas and projects from each country in other parts of the world

In a little more than a decade, the green revolution in India has converted the country from a major importer of food grains to a grain surplus exporter with the potential of becoming an agricultural power. This dramatic success is frequently attributed to introduction of high yielding varieties and modern farming techniques without recognising another and perhaps more important factor. This was the creation of the Food Corporation of India in the mid-sixties to guarantee farmers a minimum price and assured market for their produce in years of good harvest, and to distribute food grains to low income groups at reasonable prices in years of shortage. This administrative creation was introduced without interfering with any established interests and was the basis for a phenomenal growth in agricultural productivity. The same idea can be extended to the international field as an International Food Corporation sponsored by the U.N.O. with voluntary participation by member states. It can ensure stable prices for farmers in all countries by buying up surpluses, and eliminate famine by supplying where there is scarcity.

In India a similar role has been played in the field of exports by two other autonomous government agencies, the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) and the Export Promotion Councils. Today about 95% of India's internal trade is on a credit basis whereas about 95% of its external trade is on letter of credit basis. If India had to function solely on the basis of cash terms for its internal trade, its GNP would probably drop by 80% or more. Similarly, if credit terms could be extended to its external trade, that trade may be expected to increase by 5 or 10 times. The same is true of all countries, but particularly the developing nations which depend more on cash terms for their foreign trade. The ECGC was established in India to help facilitate foreign trade by offering exporters insurance on collection of money from foreign buyers, not only against political risk and natural calamities, but also against all other types of default including bankruptcy of the foreign company. An International Export Credit Guarantee Corporation functioning on similar lines can facilitate the rapid expansion of international trade.

In recent years export promotion councils have been established in India for each major field of industry, to study the overseas market potential for Indian manufacturers, advise industry on these potentials, and aid them in finding customers. These councils have played a significant role in boosting Indian exports and enabling the country to accumulate an unprecedented level of foreign reserves. The creation of international export promotion councils along similar lines could play a very useful role in promotion of world trade, as well as collecting and centralising information which may be valuable to many countries.

These three examples illustrate possible innovative programs which can be instituted with a minimum of opposition from established forces. There are innumerable ideas of this type which can be discovered by studying the programs instituted in different countries.

II.         Establish minimum performance goals in fields which have already been generally accepted for their importance.

Education is one such field. The value of education as an essential requisite and tool for development is no longer questioned. Therefore setting goals such as guaranteed free primary education for all children will be readily accepted. In India the state of Kerala is one of the poorest in natural resources, but due to the presence of the Christian missionaries, it has the highest literacy rate in the country. Wherever one goes in India, he will find people from Kerala occupying key positions in industry and administration. Today there are over 250,000 Keralites working in Gulf countries sending home large remittances in foreign exchange. So also, the value of speaking English is very much appreciated in India today, despite efforts to popularise Hindi and other regional languages. For very practical purposes, English-speaking personnel are in growing demand, because English is the only common language in a country with 18 major languages and about 100 dialects. It is also the major language for communication with the outside world. Even in the villages there is a growing demand for English medium grammar schools.

In this climate, any efforts to impose a minimum mandatory educational requirement or expand the use of English will be readily accepted because the people have already come to recognise their value. In fact, investment in education, out of all proportion to other development activities, will be well justified, because education is a prime mover of development.

Similarly minimum goals can be set for laying of roads to every village, electrification of every village, widening of the communication network to make telephone more easily available at lower cost. The state of Tamil Nadu has the highest rate of rural electrification in India, providing service to over 95% of the villages because ten years ago electrification was adopted as an important goal by the government. As a result, agriculture based on bore well irrigation and power driven industries thrive on an unprecedented scale. Recently in the same state, the government has passed legislation offering highly remunerative bus transport licenses to anyone who lays new roads at his own expense. The value of roads in opening up rural areas for development is well proven. The goal of connecting every village by roads with a marketing center can be beneficially pursued in all developing countries.

As a rule, all efforts to expand educational, transport, and communication facilities will lead to greater economic and social development. The introduction of computers, which increase the speed and ease of calculations while reducing psychological drudgery, has a similar value. Growth of tourism, knowledge of foreign languages, and intercultural education can play parallel roles in the development of culture.

III.       Identify movements which have succeeded on their own in the last thirty years, and wherever possible extend their scope and imitate them in other places.

A striking example is the Anand Dairy Cooperative in Gujarat, based on small scale ownership and production and large scale marketing. Today Anand is India's largest producer of milk, powdered milk, cheese, and butter. Recently the Government of India approved Phase II of Operation Flood, which is designed to bring an additional 10 million farm facilities in 155 districts into the fold of Anand-pattern dairy co-operatives, and eventually form the basis for a national dairy grid to meet the growing dairy needs of the country.

Another example of successful life which can be extended and multiplied is the hire purchase or lease purchase system. Presently hire purchase in India is restricted to the purchase of lorries and houses on an installment basis. As a result, the road transport industry has undergone rapid expansion and new housing colonies are coming up at an unprecedented rate. But in western countries, the lease purchase system has been extended to virtually every area of business, ranging from home furnishings to large industrial facilities. In agriculture, this approach can be immediately extended to the hire purchase of deep bore wells which require substantial investment recoverable over time, and to the creation of new plantations which have a long gestation period before yielding returns. In industry, it can be extended to enable government and financial institutions to establish new industrial facilities and then turn them over to willing entrepreneurs with payment to be effected from earnings. In both areas, such an innovation would enable rapid expansion.

IV.       Identify areas where substantial growth can be initiated by the change of a single government policy or attitude, and create greater awareness in government of the positive benefits accruing from such a change.

For example, the Indian government has a phobia concerning the activities of foreigners within the country regardless of the size, scope, or value of those activities. Without denying the need for vigilance and discrimination in this area, a selective identification of acceptable and highly valuable areas for foreign collaboration is worthwhile.

A few years ago, a state in Yugoslavia signed a contract with a large American grain company for the developing of corn cultivation over a very large area on a profit-sharing basis. Many projects of this type have proven successful in South America. There are certain areas where it could be beneficially introduced in India. For instance, since independence, there has been a slight growth in the size of the coffee and tea plantations established by the British, but virtually no increase in the number. The dynamism is lacking to break new ground in this area, but if foreigners are once again allowed to reenter the field, surely Indian entrepreneurs will follow suit. In addition to traditional plantation crops, there are many new ones that can be introduced such as papaya for canning, jasmine flowers for extraction of valuable essential oil, and the jojoba shrub now under study in the U.S. and Israel as a replacement for the oil of the sperm whale in industrial lubricants.

A related idea is to invite foreign agriculturists to establish model farms in developing countries like India, demonstrating their techniques and expertise to the local farmers. There is much that can be learned from watching a Japanese farmer practice crop rotation, a Dutchman raise vegetables, a Danish or Swiss farmer raise dairy animals. For the foreigner, the attraction will be cheap land and labour and therefore higher profits. In fact, the opening of Indian village life to young foreigners from all countries would be a valuable means of cultural exchange, whereby these foreigners could assimilate the deeper cultural and spiritual values of India, and at the same time impart their high standards of hygiene and material proficiency.

There is no doubt that restrictions on foreign investment and the role of multinationals in industry is a necessary protection for the growth of indigenous organisations and the development of individual initiative in the population. Were it not for such restrictions, many of today's self-employed industrialists would be factory managers in foreign-owned companies and would never have made the transition from being followers who obey to being leaders who create. Nevertheless, it is also undeniable that most of India's leading industrial companies were founded by foreigners before Independence or founded afterwards with foreign collaboration and participation. Today there is no need for the introduction of new foreign investment and know-how in these established fields, but there remain other areas which lie as far beyond the present social will and technical capabilities of the country as the founding of the first power stations and steel mills did before Independence. These are areas where foreign companies, including multinationals, can still play a positive role in Indian development.

A very promising example is the proposal for construction of a garland canal which would link the seven major rivers into a national water grid, create an inexpensive system of inland water transport, double the lands available for irrigated cultivation, provide employment for millions of workers for decades to come, and substantially reduce the recurring yearly threats of flood catastrophes in the north and of droughts in the south. At an estimated cost of 20 billion dollars, the project remains beyond the present means and potential strength of the Indian government; while becoming more costly with each passing year it remains undone. Since the late 50's, it has been considered by every new government, recommended by many international research teams, and captured the imagination of the people. This is an area where foreign capital and corporate participation, by accepting the risks and sharing in the profits, can be most productive and serviceable to the country. Indeed the loss in terms of unutilized potentials so outweighs the possible loss due to exploitation by foreigners, as to render the latter insignificant.

The Indian railways are another example. Since Independence, the length of the railways has increased less than ten percent, while the value of railway assets has increased tenfold. Passenger and freight traffic can easily support a doubling of the present track mileage, but the government hesitates due to the investment required. Under these circumstances, foreign companies can be invited to invest in the construction of new mileage which will be a service to the whole nation.

These examples illustrate the enormous potential for growth that can issue from a shift in government policy and attitude within a small area. Almost every area contains some hidden potential of this type and almost every present policy can profitably undergo some modification towards greater flexibility and adaptability to the real needs of each country and the world as a whole. Many such areas cannot be immediately opened due to established resistances and sensitivity, but efforts can be taken to educate the public as to the possible benefits, so that concrete steps can be taken in the near future.

V.        Fully utilize what is now wasted either for one's own benefit or for the benefit of others.

Presently about 80% of India's available river water flows into the sea unutilised. Harnessing of this one resource can revolutionize the whole economy. In certain delta areas such as Tanjore in the south, there is enough water available to double the acreage under irrigation. Kerala has abundant water resources, but because most of the state is mountainous, the water cannot be utilized for cultivation. The same water can be effectively channeled eastward into dry areas of Tamil Nadu to produce food and power.

Under the same principle, we can include labour intensive technologies developed in the West which have become obsolete in these countries, but which may still be profitably employed by developing nations. One illustration is the handmade paper industry which flourished in Europe for seven hundred years. Even after the introduction of sophisticated paper machinery, this industry survived because it produced certain very high grades of paper which cannot be economically made by machine. Finally the industry has all but succumbed due to the high costs of European labour. Even today there is a large scope for developing this industry in countries like India where production costs are about 1/6 those in Europe. In fact, there are already over 200 hand-made paper units in India, established since Independence. But these units were introduced more as a welfare scheme than a viable industry and without reference to the quality requirements of foreign markets.

Recently the first concrete steps were taken to import foreign know-how in this industry and to produce handmade paper of the same quality as that produced in Europe. This single industry has a significant potential for generating employment, increasing exports, and providing the world with a valuable commodity once threatened with extinction. A study in this area will reveal hundreds of processes and products deemed obsolete in the West, which offer attractive benefits to developing countries.

VI.       Implement all available nationally and internationally beneficial schemes of World Bank, UNO, IMP, UNDP, etc.

When considering the initiation of fresh programs, it is wise to take a look at the existing schemes. Most, even of the popular ones, would have been fulfilled less than 50%. Unless and until the known schemes are implemented as far as practicable, fresh schemes will not gain momentum. The presently available programs in all fields are enough to eradicate a large part of our present problems. These programs need a push. A study can be made of how the world will change if all the existing schemes are fully implemented.

The Indian government's vigorous imposition of birth control during the emergency evoked a violent reaction from the northern states; whereas in the south, where education is more widespread, this idea has been accepted and put into practice, even in remote villages. In the next generation there will be no one in the south who is averse to the idea. Wherever a program is welcomed, it must be more vigorously implemented. That one achievement will open the door for others. Wherever it is resisted, efforts should be focused on educating the population for future acceptance, rather than imposing programs by force.

VII.      Simple but highly beneficial innovative schemes.

Examples can be taken from many fields. It is a matter of pride among Indian farmers that the non-descript country breed of cow has been replaced by the high yielding Jersey cow. It is also a common observation that milch animals brought from cold climates suffer seriously during summer, creating huge losses. High yielding milch cows are available not only in cold climates but also in other parts of the tropics. It is better to shift animals between similar climatic zones.

Education in India is form-oriented rather than content-oriented. What matters is the degree, not what one has learned. The entire emphasis is on memorisation of information, rather than teaching the student to think. It is a non-thinking system in which inquisitiveness is often frowned upon. It is possible to reorient the Indian educational system towards training the faculty of thinking. It is more difficult to create awareness within the country that an effort should be made to do so. In each college, a beginning can be made by attempting to upgrade one department of the faculty to the western standard and inviting foreign professors to guide the effort.

The strategy illustrated here is to assess each field in terms of its readiness to make a change. If the field is ready, if the general psychological atmosphere is ripe, without upsetting the whole system, make a token beginning at every possible opportunity. If the assessment is correct, these token efforts will release a self-generating movement in the desired direction.

An effort can be made to facilitate the issuance of visas for movements of people which stimulate development. The migration of technically qualified Indians to the Gulf countries is an example. Trained personnel who are in surplus within India are in demand in the Middle East to man development projects and participate in nation-building. India is exporting her surplus human resources to build a development infrastructure in lesser developed countries. This is a very positive movement which should be supported by immigration authorities on both sides. The migration of foreigners to India in search of cultural or spiritual values is another positive movement.

This same idea can be extended to other areas as well. For instance, the most brilliant doctors, technicians, engineers, and teachers the world over can form themselves into committees and offer to send representative panels to any country that needs their service, either for a fee or as a service sponsored by the U.N. Similarly, at a lower level, retired and unemployed personnel from advanced countries can be allowed to migrate to the least developed nations to start new institutions or put their national training to good use and be well paid for their services.

VIII.     Creative origina1 ideas which are essentially idealistic can be expressed and implemented wherever possible.

The fact that a thought is idealistic or in conflict with established opinion is no argument for rejecting it. The idealism of today becomes the practical realism in years to come. Ideas have a great creative power which works for their fulfillment. It is worthwhile generating the right ideas and ideals for the future and putting them before the public. Programs based on these ideals are valuable even if results are meager.

One such idea is for the developing countries to deploy part of their military forces as an army for development. Several countries in a region such as Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Burma can form a treaty declaring themselves as a "territory occupied for development in a war against poverty", and invite the U.N. to protect them from foreign invasion for a period of 10 years while their armies and defense expenditures are diverted to development activities. West Germany and Japan, both occupied after the last world war, were free to channel all their energies into economic reconstruction. Today their economies are the strongest in the world.

Another idea was expressed in a recent issue of Deve1opment Forum by the Chairman of Citibank. He traced the history of the U.S. foreign debt and illustrated that even a large foreign debt maintained over a long period need not be considered a negative sign. On the contrary, debt is an instrument for development and the principal means whereby countries get the necessary capital for growth during the early stages of nation-building. Development being a process induced by one on another, it is only natural that the instrument for development, capita1 should also come from another. The Marshall Plan for Europe was based on this principle. It not only paved the way for unprecedented prosperity among its recipients, but created a huge export market for the U.S.A., which was the donor.

The theme of the 18th World Management Congress held in New Delhi was "Management perspectives for Economic Growth and Human Welfare". One idea which received considerable attention was that the real goal of management was not economic growth for its own sake, but growth for the sake of human welfare; and that by welfare we must include not only the material improvement of man's life, but his psychological growth and happiness as well, what may be better termed well-being. The pursuit of economic activity for welfare and well-being is an idealistic one. But a study of changes in management practices over the last thirty years will reveal that this is precisely the direction in which business has been moving. Management has come to realise that employee and consumer satisfaction and community service are essential for long term corporate growth and success. In other words, they now understand that such activities are in their own self-interest.

Now they practice these ideas from the perspective of the lower, to enhance profits, rather than from the perspective of the higher, to serve human welfare. They have not yet come to realise a basic principle of social evolution that it is by serving the higher aims and ideals of the society that one grows and expands constantly. The greatest commercial successes of this age are those that have most fully accepted the aim of serving human welfare, because by so doing they remain in constant harmony with the expansive sectors of the economy.

Business today provides many essential services to the public such as education, employment, research and development, communication and transportation, etc. What we call profits is really the margin over costs necessary to justify their existence and meet future costs. Corporations profess the profit motive but in reality work for the general welfare. When companies consciously accept the ideal of service in preference to profits, they align themselves with the interests of the country and actually earn more. The phenomenal expansion of South Korean industry in the last ten years is at least partially attributed to the fact that even among industrialists the growth and welfare of the country and employees is given higher priority than individual achievement and conspicuous consumption. The ideal of service is one that can find a responsive chord, especially in the developing countries, and will help channel commercial energies in constructive directions. Still dividends can be paid to share-holders as they are paid to employees, but with the idea that the business is really a public utility serving a public purpose.


These eight principles of development and the examples cited are illustrative and not exhaustive. A much larger list of principles can be compiled, with, under each one, a hundred examples from each country and each sector of social life. The common basis is that each of these principles derives from a perception of the process of development and its scope for expression in the international sphere. For example, in the field of international commerce, this view is for a movement away from an economic system based on innumerable isolated and fairly self-sufficient national systems to the perspective of the whole world as a single production unit. Principles and practices derived from this view will be in the mainstream of the natural economic movement of the world community and, therefore, most likely to succeed.

In the field of politics, the perspective is for a movement towards greater and greater inter-cooperation and inter-dependence among the nations of the world based on mutually beneficial activities rather than aggression by the stronger and more developed or demands for charity by the weaker and less developed. Those activities which are based on mutual benefit will be most successful.

In the field of education and culture, the trend is for an increasing exchange of cultural perspectives between all countries, based on recognition that each country's line of development represents a significant contribution to the whole, from which other societies can benefit. If developing countries like India have much still to learn from the efficiency of western managers or the thought provoking character of western education, it is equally true that countries like the U.S.A. are very much in need of establishing cultural and spiritual moorings based on a deeper knowledge of life than their superficial materialism reveals. Exchange of material proficiency for cultural richness and spiritual peace is already a noticeable trend in the world today.

But all of these principles of application are based on a deeper underlying law of human development. The key to successful development activities in any sphere of life in any country is to identify the live ends of social existence where society is ready for growth.

Then it must be determined whether the necessary awareness is fully matured, whether the enthusiasm for change has been released, and whether sufficient physical pressure or opportunity is present to stimulate the change. If not, efforts must be focused on these vital areas. Normally the most important point is to set in motion the motivating force of the social energies. Depending on the level of the society, this may be the force of competition, imitation, education, or original creativity. Once all these factors are present in right measure, development will be self-initiating, self-regenerating, and self-multiplying. As a rule, the movement of growth and expansion so released will spread far beyond the boundaries of a localised project or area, for such movements are supported by the growing currents of life itself and have a greater momentum generated by that universal energy.

story | by Dr. Radut