NI 460 - What has development done for me? - March, 2013

NI 460 - March, 2013

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What has development done for me?

A note from the editor

Chris Brazier

My own first encounter with New Internationalist was with an issue on Water in September 1981. It was a revelation to me: having always taken clean water for granted as something that flowed at the twist of a tap, here I was suddenly transported into seeing it as a precious resource that had to be borne in pots from the well or that might carry horrible diseases. From the first, the magazine seemed to me to offer something unique, a window on the real world where the majority, far from chasing the latest consumerist dream, still had to struggle for the basic necessities of life.

More than three decades later, 29 years of which I have spent here as a co-editor, there is still no other popular magazine that sees the world in quite the same way – that offers a platform for the myriad voices of people from Asia, Africa and Latin America, that celebrates their cultures and that argues consistently for global justice. Like all other magazines and newspapers, we are wrestling with a new digital age where the habit of subscribing to a paper magazine is less common and where information is routinely sought from the web. So we’re delighted to launch our new online subscriptions app which works brilliantly on any device with a web browser. It incorporates a feature for which we’ve had many requests – easy sharing of favourite articles.

For this special 40th anniversary issue, we invited the magazine’s founding editor, Peter Adamson, to write the keynote article, which looks back at his original hopes for the publication – and surveys the progress (or in some respects the lack of it) made by humanity over the four decades since. We have revisited just a few of the key individuals who have featured in our pages over those years. And we showcase a landmark essay by the great German thinker Wolfgang Sachs on why ‘development’ has become an empty shell that should be cast off even by those of us who care most deeply about global justice.

Sad to say, notwithstanding all its technological progress, the world has actually become more rather than less unequal since the first issue of this magazine was unveiled in March 1973. Perhaps the time has finally come for globalization to be replaced by a ‘new internationalism’ that puts the needs of the poor and the planet above the idle interests of the rich.

Chris Brazier for the New Internationalist co-operative.

Keynote article.

Jaideep Hardikar

A measure of progress

The founding editor of the New Internationalist, Peter Adamson, looks at how the world has changed since the magazine started – and argues for a new push against inequality.

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The first issue of The Internationalist was put together using a set of printer’s galleys, a tin of cow-gum, and half a dozen sheets of Letraset (ask your parents). Its cover story was an interview with Julius Nyerere, President of newly independent Tanzania, first university graduate of his country, translator of Shakespeare into Swahili, author of African Socialism, and a political hero for many of us in that long ago time.

A couple of years earlier, during our final undergraduate ye...


Aminatou Haidar

Where are they now? Aminatou Haidar

The nonviolent resistance activist on what she has been doing since she was featured in our 1997 issue.

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Polyp’s original illustration for Sachs’ 1992 series of essays called ‘Development: a Guide to the Ruins’. The face on the Sphinx is that of Harry Truman, the US President who coined the idea of  ‘underdevelopment’ in a 1949 speech. He saw greater production as ‘the key to prosperity and peace’ and the US as ‘pre-eminent among nations’.

Liberating the world from development

In 1992 New Internationalist published Wolfgang Sachs’ seminal series of essays Development: A Guide to the Ruins. Two decades on, he looks at how globalization gave the concept of ‘development’ an unexpected new lease of life – and argues that the 21st century needs to outgrow the idea for the sake of both the poor and the planet.

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Where are they now? Mari Marcel Thekaekara

The Indian activist who's been writing for New Internationalist for almost 25 years.

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Where are they now? Domitila Barrios de Chungara

The leader of the Housewives’ Committee in Bolivia 1979.

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Millennium Development Goals

In 2000, the UN summit agreed the Millennium Declaration – aspirations for the new century. Are we on target to meet them by 2015?

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Still smiling – but this yak herder, who is also Lake Khövsgöl’s wrestling champion, has an uncertain future.

Waiting for Chinggis

Some Mongolians believe their warrior-hero will return from the dead in 2027 to restore their country. Others aren’t willing to wait that long – and are taking on modern-day menaces themselves. Tina Burrett and Christopher Simons discover a nomadic people fighting for their past, and future.

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Where are they now? Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani

The Iranian women's rights activist on what she has been doing since she was featured in our March 2007 issue.

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Where are they now? Rigoberta Menchú

The Guatemalan indigenous rights activist on what she has been doing since she was featured in our 1993 issue.

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The Facts

World progress 1970-2010

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Praise, blame and all points in between? Give us your feedback.

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Until HIV is no longer a swear word

A fight forces Wame Molefhe to see the distance
between dream and reality.

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Street scene from central Cairo. All photographs by Maria Golia.

Country Profile: Egypt

The country’s last 150 years reflect a dynamic process, part of the greater human quest for fair self-governance.

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Photo: Berthold Stadler / AP / Press Association Images

Angela Davis

Once on the FBI's 'most wanted' list, the radical political activist, author and scholar has been making waves in the civil rights movement since 1961. She talks to Frank Barat about her past, her present, and her hopes for the future.

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Big Bad World

Corporations answer questions, by PJ Polyp.

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Only Planet - Trains!

Marc Roberts’ Only Planet cartoon.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews.

Despetrate to get away, the eponymous Shell.


A film written and directed by Scott Graham (90 minutes).

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A walk across war-shattered Germany.


A film directed and co-written by Cate Shortland (109 minutes).

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A film directed and written by Craig Zobel (90 minutes).

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Nothing is sacred for Brazil's playful Graveola.

Eu Preciso de um Liquidificador

Music by Graveola (Mais Um Discos CD MAIS013)

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An impressive line-up of musical lefties.

Celebrating Subversion

Music by The Anti-Capitalist Roadshow (Fuse Records CF 099 2CD).

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Politics of Origin in Africa

A book by Morten Bøås and Kevin Dunn (Zed, ISBN 1848139969)

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A Tale for the Time Being

A book by Ruth Ozeki (Canongate, ISBN 9780857867964)

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China's Urban Billion

A book by Tom Miller (Zed, ISBN 9781780321417)

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The Sound of One Hand Killing

A book by Teresa Solana translated by Peter Bush (Bitter Lemon Press, ISBN 978 1 908524 065)

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Also out there...

More film, book & music reviews.

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