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Unpacking the global (capitalist) development agenda

by DR. AZRA SAYEED, Roots for Equity – Pakistan

The global capitalist system, now suffering from the crisis of overproduction and decreasing profit margins, has gone into a panic mode the result of which have been on one hand the brutal implementation of neoliberal policies and on the other, the wars being carried out by imperialist forces to ensure their control over the natural resources, markets and labour movements across the globe. Indeed, capitalism only has two agendas: one is profit and the other is control – and therefore to control anything that will gain them profit.


The manifestation of the neoliberal policies is the intense militarization of local communities, nations and regions. The globalization era has been marked by the increasing presence of military and para-military forces of our own nations guarding the interest of the international corporations. In addition, there has been occupation of countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan for control over a key natural resource — oil.


Indigenous leaders from Mindanao, Philippines protest against the killings of their teachers and community leaders in attempts to crush peoples resistance to large mining companies that threaten to dispossess ancestral domains that rightfully belong to indigenous tribes (Photo: Pia Cortez)

The result have been atrocious human right abuses, with all sectors of small producers being pushed out of their communities, losing control over their productive resources and livelihoods. Murder and plunder of the communities is now a routine facing the most marginalized across the globe. They suffer from malnutrition and hunger; the indignity of being without decent work forced into migration and many new forms of bondage and oppression.


Given the multitude and scale of the crises facing humanity, it would have seemed that the multilateral negotiations would have focused on implementing immediate, holistic measures that would bring about a transformative structural change in addressing rising tragic inequalities within and among nations and the fragile ecological balance ; Instead, the spirit of the Globalization agenda continues to be implemented. Indeed, the UN-sponsored “2030 Agenda” is now considered to be the privatization of development.

The strong brutal push towards implementation has been obvious through the many policy documents that have been put forward by the OECD. An important document brought out by the OECD in 2006, namely “Pro-Poor Growth”, clearly places the private sector as a critical contributor to economic growth and employment creation. This is the pattern that has been followed by all Northern governments pushing a private sector development strategy. For example, the final document that came as a result of the Fourth High Level Forum for Aid, December, 2011, South Korea. The Busan Partnership for Effective Development has acknowledged the central role of the private sector in innovation, creating wealth and contributing to poverty reduction.

The Private Sector which basically means the transnational corporations that have been responsible for the plunder of the Earth’s natural resources and massive exploitation and oppression of the people are now being projected as those who will play a key role in alleviating poverty as well as saviors from the debacle facing our planet.

The Development framework has made the private sector role central to delivering all programs may they be related to the energy, agriculture, transport, or any other sector. The Public Private Partnership (PPP) is the model that is being pushed at the people to be used for implementing so called development programs, projects and schemes. The PPP basically means that the private sector will sell all goods and services to the communities. The government infrastructure or other services are used for delivery of a service: but the price of the service is now based on profit-making objectives of the business sector. Poor marginalized communities are forced to access services at a much higher price than they could afford. The result is the poorest suffer further marginalization. The private sector is able to expand its market mechanism in communities. At the same time, governments back off from delivering basic services to the people.

Peoples Movements

Given the thrust of the privatization pushed by leading capitalist economies, how are our governments, who represent the two-third of the world’s humanity, responding?

The response can only be termed as disappointing which falls very short of bringing about a transformative change to redress the imperialist policies and nullify the acute inequalities that sharply plunge the vast majority of the people into debt, hunger and poverty.

Given that our governments have not taken any clear steps to change the direction of the path taken by the richest economies of the world, it is clear that the people will have to take proactive and multi-pronged methods of engagement.

It is also critical that all segments of civil society are a part of the people’s campaigns. The media, academia, health care professionals, lawyers among others are all part of our communities and are needed to build a peoples movement to ensure that a truly just model of development is eked for the coming decades.

And of course, there can be no people’s movement without the masses. All small producers including the fisher folk, peasants, small and landless farmers, pastoralists, women, indigenous people, minorities, as well as women and youth need to be key players demanding for genuine development that is by the people, and for the people.

(This article was originally published in


2 thoughts on “Unpacking the global (capitalist) development agenda

  1. Agree completely. My daughter is launching the first global revolution, EarthVote, to come up with comprehensive visionary plans so all people on earth bite to choose the kind of world e live in for the first time in history. website coming soon


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