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Daryn K
CA writer transplanted in NY
Interests: Sustainable development, human rights, saving the planet, social media, art, coffee and chocolate (fair trade, of course), ethnic vegetarian food...
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Hi Craig - put this way, I can definitely agree with you - this applies not just to developing countries or people in poverty but really to everyone, anywhere....What did you think about the culture readings from last week? I found them really interesting - especially liked Ha Joon Chang's piece. Actually wrote my op ed on this topic - years ago I first ran into the "culture of poverty" view and it really rubbed me the wrong way; it seemed to speak of a superiority complex on the part of the developed world, not to mention possibly being racist, and in my experience false (having just returned from two years in Kenya where my friends worked like crazy to try to build a future). Now (older and perhaps a tad less idealistic) I can look back, see certain things differently, and admit that mindset can have an influence - however, I don't think it's the be all and end all that some (e.g., David Landes, "Culture Makes Almost All the Difference") assert.
Toggle Commented Mar 9, 2011 on Development - A State of Mind at DevPolitics
Hi JPM - while I sadly have to agree with your definition of development as currently practiced by many in the development industry, I hope that becomes less and less the case over time, as the process of development has its intended effect and fewer countries need assistance. I really do believe (and say this as an employee of the industry) the development sector’s goal should be to work itself out of a job. Having said that, conflicting feelings arise at times (my specific function is in communications and public relations to ultimately support our fundraising)…but I guess as long as the needs remain so great we’re obliged to continue (as per blog topic #1), mixed motives and all.
Toggle Commented Mar 1, 2011 on What is development? at DevPolitics
On a related note, just saw something on a new docu called Economics of Happiness about the connections among the global economic crisis, globalization, environment, and a “'crisis of the human spirit'—the reality that even as our material wealth has increased, we have not gotten happier....":
Hi Daniel - that sounds like a great topic for the assignment - hope it works out! When I first heard about Bhutan I thought it was amusing, but digging deeper, it makes sense on a number of levels. I'd be interested in reading the full review when you have a moment - dk1275@. Thanks!
Daryn K is now following jgershman
Feb 6, 2011
Anna, thanks for sharing this video and your questions. I immediately thought of Bhutan, which in Nov. 2008 (coinciding with the coronation of the country's fifth king) adopted a Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index ( The previous king had promoted happiness as the guide for development since the 1970s but there apparently had been no measurable indicators till the GNHI was established. While I agree that individual "happiness" is subjective, the GHNI appears to equate it to quality of life (e.g., it assumes that people will be happier if there is less pollution, as opposed to more). The index includes both subjective and objective indicators to try to "give equal weight to both the functional aspects of human society as well as the emotive side of human experience." (For example, both people's perceptions of their personal safety/security and crime stats are used as happiness metrics.) Looking at it this way, happiness seems like a reasonable goal for development, and programs for food security, empowerment, etc. would be paths to that end and not goals in themselves.
Daryn K is now following The Typepad Team
May 16, 2010