United Nations Conference for Development and Environment
- Conferência das Nações Unidas para
o Desenvolvimento e Meio Ambiente (Rio – 92), disseminated
ideas (or recipes?) advocated by the Club of Rome during
the 70’s and developed by Norwegian minister Gro
Harlem Brundtland in "Our Common Future" in
the 80’s. The concept of sustainable development,
implying global development criteria, would transfer to
a global society (idealized and non-existent in its cultural
universalism) the so-called developmental benefits and
The introduction of endogenous development presupposes,
in a smaller scale, the development of communities. It
describes a development directed to communities, from
the inside to the outside, in what refers to their traditions
International organisms insist in reconciling both concepts
in their guidelines and agendas, due, among other reasons,
to the need of absorbing poverty, a category that the
"utopia of equal development" was not able to
history, poverty – the human and material reflection of
inequality – was usually incorporated to society through
mechanisms more or less rigid of casts and privileges, and justified
by usage, customs or religious principles.
the advent of the industrial era, the absorption of poverty
was left in the hands of hygienist practices and nation-state
"watch", the basis of current welfare state policies.
But these policies do not correspond anymore to global needs:
the numbers of the dispossessed increase continuously, without
a "justification" to explain and assimilate them as
in the past, and worse, in a world where "inequality"
is considered an unacceptable totalitarianism.
we examine Latin America, we find that the distance between
the 20% wealthiest and the 20% poorest corresponds to 19 times,
while in the developed countries it corresponds to 6 times,
if we compare each group’s income".
upon the failure of the policies adopted in Latin America for
better income distribution, has proposed something called "productive
transformation though equity ", which attempts to replace
Equality by Equity (defined as Equality with Diversity). The
proposal’s premises include a type of development with
regional characteristics, occurring from the inside to the outside,
based on "technical progress" and achieved essentially
to Carmem Gaudilla, growth through equity could be defined as
a "new modernity, that seeks technical progress, equity
and democracy by reconciling individual freedom, modern thought
and a sense of community. (...)"
the point of view of sustainable development, as advocated by
the wealthier countries, some of the most important reserves
of the poorer countries must remain untouched as "humanity’s
reserves", something which will certainly increase the
statistics of inequality. The international organizations themselves
confirm the "fragmented globalization" which takes
place these days both in the undeveloped and in the developed
refers to techniques, markets, tourism and information.
Universality refers to values, human rights, freedom,
culture and democracy. Globalization seems irreversible,
while universality is disappearing "
(Baudrillard, Libération, mar.,1996)
development projects do not oppose society to community anymore.
They prescribe "a society based on solidarity" as
suggested by alternative development models, instead of stressing
the need for solidarity first.
Political-ideological projects propose self-management of each
community’s resources, while the idea of equality among
its members is transferred to the global consciousness. This
means that the distance to the universal increases, creating
the need to reinforce the traditions and culture of each community,
risking the unfolding of extreme forms of nationalism, whether
religious, ethnic or social. This is one of the main contradictions
of a development model that seeks its essential values in itself.
It also shows the weakness of a way of thinking (again utopian)
which regards growth as based on "equality with diversity".
There is no evidence in the sociopolitical game of the developed
countries that this may be desirable without restrictions and
without fearing the new emerging economies. Social bonds are
conceived here as commercial.
idea of an endogenous development reinforces the notion of a
naturalistic vision of the community, in the sense advocated
by Tonnies. The sustainable development idea presupposes an
individual and contractual vision which reminds us of Rousseau’s,
where we first find the individual to finally arrive at the
collective, and then at a contract, in order to arrive at a
"restored community". In understanding this issue
we could apply Farrugia’s idea: "There is no authentic
and feasible contract that is not drawn among free and equal
men. We have to promote an understanding of the contractual
bond by integrating the communitarian and the contractual".
type of equality are we discussing? Carmem Gaudilla points out
that the current economical dynamic is producing increasing
numbers of excluded people – the "new poor ".
equality principle in question here assumes that all men and
women are equally interested in contributing to development,
which would then become global.
have not found yet adequate recipes for equality, and the most
sophisticated socioeconomic models are lacking in solidarity".
maxim "thinking globally, acting locally" seems as
an attempt to reconcile the contractual and the communitarian.
Nevertheless, there was no similarity and no equality among
those who were / should have been called to sign up the contract
that would establish a self-sustainable global development project.
Therefore, this contract will never be capable of promoting
equality nor a sense of universal solidarity, it we don’t
we pose new questions: if we are to promote development, in
which measure should we adopt hybrid solutions? In other words,
how to integrate technological innovations with local traditions?
How could the developed countries cooperate with the underdeveloped?
Is it possible to alleviate conflicts born from the impact between
traditional and technological cultures? How to preserve cultural
identities and, therefore, diversity, without risking a sterile
xenophobia and an a cult of nationalism? Are we able to finally
discuss some sort of global development that implies in the
universal well being?