<br><h3> Introduction </h3> <b>Capitalism qua Development</b> <p> <p> Traditional geography steals space just as the imperial economy steals wealth, official history steals memory, and formal culture steals the word. Eduardo Galeano (2000: 315) <p> <p> In its brief history, global capitalism has created a world of such intense inequalities that one can only conclude, to borrow Galeano's words, that the world is governed by an imperial economy designed to steal wealth from the poor. Consider: in 2001 the gross net income (GNI) for the entire world was 31.4 trillion US dollars. If this vast sum was distributed equally among the world's 6.1 billion people, it would amount to $5,120 per person. But the vast majority of people in the world received considerably less. In Latin America and the Caribbean, for instance, the GNI per capita was $3,280; in South Asia, $460; in Sub-Saharan Africa, only $450. Such regional averages are deceptive, however, because each of these regions is in turn divided by inequalities that parallel the global pattern, and the subaltern majorities do not own (let alone earn) even these modest sums. Thus, in a world with a per capita GNI of more than $5,000, there are 2.8 billion people – almost half of the world who live on less than $700 a year. Of these, 1.2 billion people earn less than $1 a day. This is much worse than it was a generation ago. The average GNI of the richest 20 countries today is 37 times that of the poorest 20, a degree of inequality that has roughly doubled in the past 40 years. <p> The irony is that this historic expansion of inequality occurred during a period known as the "age of development," a time when "development decades" came and went and scores of states built their hegemony, along with multilateral institutions and NGOs for that matter, upon one mandate: <i>accelerating development</i>. A truly global consensus emerged concerning political-economic management – a form of hegemony in Gramsci's sense – that the world's poor should enjoy the fruits of development. The fact that global capitalism has increased inequality without substantially reducing poverty raises stark questions: what is it that makes some areas of the world rich and others poor? How is it that capitalism reproduces inequality in the name of <i>development</i>? Indeed, how is it that the deepening of capitalist social relations comes to be taken as development? <p> <p> <b>Contesting Development</b> <p> This book clears space to answer these questions by investigating colonialism and development through the lens of a postcolonial Marxism and by considering the colonization and development of the region known today as southern Belize. This area, also called the Toledo District, is the poorest in the country and among the poorest regions in Central America. The 2002 GNI for Belize was $2,960. The greatest poverty is concentrated in the rural Maya communities in the Toledo District, where 41 percent of the households earned less than $720 per year. For the World Bank as much as the local farmers who experience the existential effects of this poverty, the solution to this situation is economic development via neoliberal policy and loans of financial capital. <p> The 1990s were a tumultuous decade in the Toledo District of southern Belize as export-oriented neoliberalism became Belize's de facto development strategy. State spending had been governed by a strict austerity and the state privatized public assets at a rate that left it with little left to sell. This complemented a vigorous search for new exports, which have led to an expansion of resource extraction, particularly in fisheries, timber, and agriculture. When the Ministry of Natural Resources sold a number of new logging concessions in Toledo in the mid-1990s, the neoliberal development model collided with an indigenous movement that was gaining ground throughout southern Belize. This social movement – called simply "the Maya movement" in Belize – was led by the late Julian Cho, a schoolteacher who was elected to the chairmanship of the movements' central organization, the Toledo Maya Cultural Council (TMCC), in 1995. Julian and the TMCC struggled to organize Mopan and Q'eqchi' Maya-speaking people, whose livelihoods are based on corn and rice production in the forests of Toledo, to win secure rights to the lands that were threatened by the logging concessions. This Maya movement used the logging concessions as a way to articulate claims about land rights and the marginality of the Mayas in Belizean development on national and international scales. <p> The drive to expand logging exports and the rise of the Maya movement collided in September 1995 when a logging concession was granted to a multinational firm to cut timber in the Columbia River Forest, an area used by a number of Maya communities for hunting, farming, and collecting other non-timber forest products. Demonstrations by Mayas and their allies called for an end to foreign logging operations, secure land rights, and a new investment by the state in a development project in the region (called "CARD": see chapter 2). To map their territory and present an alternative vision of development, the leaders of the Maya movement organized a project to map all of the Maya communities in southern Belize (I discuss this project in chapter 6). The maps and the logging concessions were two key pieces of evidence in a lawsuit drawn up against the state and brought before the Supreme Court of Belize in 1997. The Maya movement won some of its demands. Logging operations were cancelled in the Columbia River Forest in mid-1996. Maya leaders were invited to assist in designing a new development project, funded by the state with loans from regional development banks, that aimed at improving incomes in rural communities. After the 1998 election of the progressive People's United Party (or PUP) government of Said Musa, "friendly settlement talks" were established between Maya leaders and state representatives to resolve the land issue. <p> But the Maya did not win all that they had struggled for. Julian Cho died under mysterious circumstances in December 1998. As the movement fractured, the Musa government found that there was no unified leadership and no substantive proposals to negotiate. The settlement talks on the land issue soon dissolved. Today, the same logging company is at work in Toledo's forests; CARD, the development program, has come and gone, leaving Belize with more debt, and poverty has only deepened in the Maya communities. As for the lawsuit, in 2003 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (the IACHR, part of the inter-American system of international law) ruled in favor of the Maya, but as of September 2007 the practical effects of this ruling have been nil. <p> This story resounds with those from many parts of the world today. It is a cliché to say that development projects often hurt the poor, women, or other subaltern social groups. The literature cataloging the hybrid ways that neoliberal capitalism has seized and reformed the political sphere (only to be met by new forms of resistance) is vast. As in southern Belize, a common narrative involves environmental threats and conflicts between different social groups and the state that are resolved through a shift from political and legal to developmental policies. Today, threats to hegemony that emerge through such conflict are always already negotiated and resolved in terms of <i>national development</i>, a political surface that expands and contracts as hegemony is reworked in struggles over capital accumulation, identity, territorialization, and social power. Though this book examines the politics of development in contemporary Belize, my aim is not simply to document neoliberalism's effects – nor to write an ethnography of the Maya or their resistance. Rather, this is a study of the history and politics of development as a form of power, one with a truly global sway. In the wake of formal, political decolonization, development became the central mission or justification for Third World states. These states faced the enormous challenge of reconfiguring longstanding economic patterns and processes that were immiserating much of the world. The promise of development has gone unfulfilled for most of the world, and we must criticize the development policies that have failed to create the conditions for local capital accumulation, social investment, or sustainable livelihoods. <p> This task has been made more urgent in the past twenty years. The disastrous consequences of neoliberalism and structural adjustment, consolidated as the de facto development project for the world, led many to suggest a relationship between imperialism and development. The authority of the Bretton Woods institutions – the IMF, the World Bank, and the GATT/WTO – is vast and plainly rooted in colonialism. For Belize, the transition from colonial rule to neoliberalism was seamless: the government gained formal independence from Britain only in 1981, and in the face of a growing balance-of-payments crisis adopted its first agreement with the IMF in 1985. <p> Just as there can be no doubt that neoliberalism holds sway in discourses about development and economic management today, there is a parallel strength to the enframing of development issues as the property of nation-states. For instance, the balance of accounts and trade deficit are understood as <i>Belizean</i> problems, notwithstanding the facts that the economic life of Belizeans exceeds the territorial extent of the state, and that Belize's elites are increasingly transnational. That the constellation of issues that are thematized as "economic" is defined vis-à-vis the territory of the nation-state is neither innocent nor particularly old. The very identification of "the economy" as having an essentially national character dates from the early twentieth century. At both the local and global scales, the economy has been constituted as a sphere of economic flows regulated by national policies. This formulation of the economic as a geographical object is rooted in the colonial period. <p> Although this book concerns development in Belize, I do not treat Belize as an unproblematic site of analysis. If we begin by simply assuming that Belize is <i>there</i>, if we presume that the ontology of "Belize" is fixed in advance, we stand to miss a crucial effect of colonial power. The iterative production of Belize as a territorial nation-state works through practices that are thoroughly colonial. This is one of the lessons of the Maya land rights movement – what we call "Belize" today is an object produced through Spanish and British colonialism. This process of becoming Belize cannot be disassociated from primitive accumulation and the production of essentialist forms of national and racial forms of subjectivity. These effects are reiterated in the colonial present through the very act of taking Belize as an unproblematic object. Like much of the world, the processes that have played the greatest role in shaping the political economy and social life in Belize are both colonial and capitalist; therefore I focus on these relations. To interpret them effectively requires an engagement between development and the Marxist and postcolonial traditions. <p> <p> <b>Nature/Development</b> <p> In <i>Keywords</i>, Raymond Williams argues that "nature" is "perhaps the most complex word in the [English] language" because it gathers three radically different meanings under one sign. "Nature" can refer, first, to the essential quality of some thing. If we ask after the nature of a thing, we are asking after its essence. Second, "nature" can refer to an "inherent force which directs either the world or human beings or both"; third, "nature" can also refer to the world itself, environment, the space in which things live. These meanings are frequently conflated when some thing is described as being "natural." An affiliation between essence, direction, and environment is thus woven through our language. Williams explains of "nature": <p> What can be seen as an uncertainty was also a tension: nature was at once innocent, unprovided, sure, unsure, fruitful, destructive, a pure force and tainted and cursed. The real complexity of natural processes had been rendered by a complexity within the singular term.... The emphasis on discoverable laws ... led to a common identification of Natural with Reason: the object of observation with the mode of observation.... Each of these conceptions of Nature was essentially static: a set of laws the constitution of the world, or an inherent, universal, primary but also recurrent force ... teaching a singular goodness. <p> <p> Fruitful yet destructive, a pure force and yet tainted: synonyms of "development," an equally difficult keyword that Williams, alas, did not define for us in <i>Keywords</i>. Our inherited concept of "development" shares much in common with "nature." Like nature and culture, development is one of those words that first described "a quality or process, immediately defined by a specific reference, but later became independent nouns." Also like nature, development carries multiple and radically divergent meanings. The first is the <i>unfolding</i> of something essential, as in "plant development" or "child development." This is the older meaning – older even than the English word "development." The verb "to develop," from which "development" is derived, has Latin roots that carry the connotation of "disentangling." "Development" thus refers to a particular ontological quality that is expressed through the process of unfolding. Aristotle in <i>Physics</i> uses the illustration of the seed to speak of the essence that is expressed in the totality of its unfolding. Here is Aristotle in Book IV of <i>Physics</i>, chapter 1: <p> We also speak of a thing's nature as being exhibited in the process of growth by which its nature is attained. [This is "development" as ontology, i.e., unfolding of (the) latent.] ... But it is not in this way that nature (in the one sense) is related to nature (in the other). What grows <i>qua</i> growing grows from something into something. Into what then does it grow? Not into that from which it arose but into that to which it tends. <i>The shape is then nature</i>. <p> <p> Thus the essence of nature as essence is given in what – today – we would call development. That term was not available to Aristotle, or, for that matter, anyone before the 1800s. Not before the rise of the nation-state-capital trinity: a clue to our inquiry. The modern usage enters Western philosophy via Hegel, who defines development with the example of the seed developing into a plant in his <i>Encyclopedia</i>. Hegel usually uses "development" in the ontological sense, i.e., to refer to the self-unfolding of life toward the divine or of "the divine in the world." <p> Second, "development" also refers to an intention to create or change something. In this sense, "development" refers to a force that tutors a change in something or a course of events. This meaning always carries the sense of <i>will</i>: development in this second sense implies an intervention – to make something move in a direction that is <i>not</i> given in advance, essential, or required. The object of development is changed, moved, or improved, by some willful power applied from above and outside of it. <p> Our concepts of "development" and "nature" share this problematic conflation for a common reason: they are two of our most entrenched, inherited, ontological signs for indicating essence. In Western metaphysics "nature" and "development" both express essence by proposing a relationship between temporality, spatiality, and ontology. As with nature, development is sometimes defined as an inherent force which directs human beings. Nature binds temporality and ontology by joining worldliness as totality with interior, substantial essence. The substantiality of nature articulates interiority and becoming: for instance, again, in Aristotle's <i>Physics</i>, Book II, we read: "nature is a source or cause of being moved and of being at rest in that to which it belongs primarily, in virtue of itself and not in virtue of a concomitant attribute." Nature is perhaps an older concept than development, but we can see its relation to development in Aristotle's claim that nature is a "cause of being moved ... in virtue of itself." The essence of nature is expressed through development. Development thus binds temporality and ontology via the <i>rational unfolding of presence</i>. <p> <i>(Continues...)</i> <p> <p> <!-- copyright notice --> <br></pre> <blockquote><hr noshade size='1'><font size='-2'> Excerpted from <b>Decolonizing Development</b> by <b>Joel Wainwright</b> Copyright © 2008 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Excerpted by permission of John Wiley & Sons. All rights reserved. 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