Sample Term paper

Words 1,764

How does a country make progress?  The answers seem to be obvious on paper – if difficult to effect in the world itself.  Those of us who are citizens of the First World tend to believe that we understand what is required for a nation to “develop”.  But Blunch and Verner, in their study of literacy and numeracy skills in Ghana, demonstrate how complicated the idea of “development” is and how culturally specific it is.

That development should take different courses in different parts of the world should, in fact, not be a surprise to us at all.  One of the problems of modernization projects has always been that there is a certain essential arrogance to nearly all of them because there is embedded in them the idea that every “backward” country could improve itself (i.e. become like the nation that is sponsoring the modernization project) if it simply applied itself.

Such an arrogance is not, in fact, restricted to the United States or the Western European nations; it was at least as marked an aspect of Marxist regimes that argued that every nation would progress through feudalism and capitalism in the same trajectory.

However, if the process of making progress were truly as simple as all of that, one might hazard a guess that nations would be more developed than they are.  While the idea of development may be a Western one, with a number of cultural biases woven into it, it is also hard not to imagine that many governments do in fact desire many of the things that development can bring with it – lower infant mortality rates, for example.

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