A wave of optimism is sweeping through the international aid and development industry, championed by leaders such as Jeffrey Sachs and Jim Yong Kim, who believe that poverty eradication could be within our grasp. Yet in stark opposition come those who believe that all international development intervention is hegemonic, paternalistic, and neocolonialist and must be done away with. In this book, Adam D. Kis argues for a middle ground. Poverty is an entrenched, intractable problem that will never be entirely eradicated. However, if we reorientate our objectives in line with realistic goals that improve the way that poverty is confronted on a smaller scale, we can still continue the fight for meaningful change.
Using rigorous scholarship illustrated with vivid storytelling and personal anecdotes from fighting against poverty in the field, The Development Trap argues that we need to make progress against poverty on the micro, rather than the macro scale. Instead of shooting for a single overarching end of poverty, our goals must be modest and reachable. Poverty still won't go away, on a macro scale, but it can go away for specific individuals - in fact, it already happens all the time.
The Development Trap is a compelling account of the challenges of eradicating poverty, and the possibilities for meaningful change at a smaller scale. It will be perfect for international development professionals, students and scholars, and for those with a general interest in the future of aid and development.
Adam D. Kis is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the International Studies Program at Burman University in Canada. He holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Florida, USA. He has lived and worked in the United States, Benin, Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Madagascar, the Philippines and Canada.
Preface Section 1: The Case Against Poverty Eradication 1. The Development Delusion 2. Semantics 3. Culture 4. Confounders 5. The Perversion of Idealism Section 2: The Case for Continued Engagement in Fighting Poverty 6. Fighting the Good Fight 7. The Pursuit of Happiness 8. The Ends of poverty