The legend of development
In the foreword of François Partant’s book “The End of Development,” Mehmet Ali Kılıçbay writes that development is a taboo, a fetish, almost a religion that is not to be discussed. “Underdevelopment is the childhood disease of certain countries and, by following Europe’s orthogenetic evolution, they will be cured of this. The fetish for development steps in right at that spot,” he adds.
Actually, the legend of development provides the ideological dimension of the integration of underdeveloped countries into world markets, both legitimizing and hiding international exploitation and also the hierarchy.
In the foreword of the same book’s second edition, Fikret Başkaya stresses that colonialism is not only a material category. The exploitation of peoples, the deformation of economic and social structure, the destruction of cultures, the looting of human and natural heritage, the pillaging of accumulated riches are on one side. The colonization of the consciousness of people is on the other side…
The colonization of consciousness means one’s alienation from one’s own self and reality. In other words, that person distances from being him or herself. For such a person, it is not very possible to perceive, discuss and grasp realities.
While frequently referred to concepts such as “sustainable development” make the masses who have been alienated from themselves go into sprees of applause, they also gain time for those who loot cultural and natural riches to make more money.
In the recent Soma report of Greens and the Left Party of the Future, it is suggested that to associate the Soma disaster to such causes as simply “occupational safety” or “sub-contracting” would be a superficial approach. The government is aware of it all: The fact that major projects are exempt from Environmental Impact Assessment reports, the tolerance of sub-contracting, the building irregularities, the non-systematic applications and monitoring. But they are not being corrected because these corrections are regarded as obstacles that may “slow down development.”
Well, nice, but can the government sustain this development model?
Sustainability has three components: Economic sustainability, social sustainability and ecological sustainability.
While our economy is growing, it increases our current account deficit. No country can continue to have a current account deficit in the long term. Depending on the level of the deficit, the question is not whether there will be a financial crisis in the future, but when it will happen.
This structure is not sustainable economically.
Income distribution is continuously worsening. Even though social aid, access to health and education are increasing in quantity, the problems of quality remain. While unemployment was 7 to 8 percent before the 2000s, after 2002, when economic growth started accelerating, it went up to 11 percent.
The real purchasing power of those who have a job did not increase; their household debts increased. Sub-contracting and occupational accidents rose rapidly.
This structure is not sustainable socially.
More than what nature offers is being consumed; we are eroding our natural resource stocks.
This structure is not sustainable ecologically.
Isn’t it unfair both to this country and to its people to rush to 2023 to become the 10th biggest economy in the world and sustain this cruel and uncaring growth politics?
You know, they say, “OK then, don’t use the Third Bridge once it’s built.”
Well, yes, we won’t use it; because we know that the way to save this country and the world is not consuming more, not digging more and not erecting more buildings, but it is making radical changes in lifestyles.