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This book argues that development is a comprehensive societal process with two key elements: economic restructuring and sociocultural transformation. While either of these elements alone can initiate change, a strong development plan needs to address both in order to succeed.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. A Personal Note

Abstract
Because this book is about development that draws its lessons from the past as it tries to change the present and chart a promising path to the future, I feel the need to explain my connection to history and the transformations of societies, cultures, economies, and civilizations it witnessed.
Mohamed Rabie

Chapter 2. Meaning of Development

Abstract
Development is basically an economic concept that has positive connotations; it involves the application of certain economic and technical measures to utilize available resources to instigate economic growth and improve people’s quality of life. In the 1950s and 1960s, development was largely referred to as economic growth, which meant a quantitative rather than qualitative change in economic performance. Consequently, development theories were designed to activate and accelerate the process of economic growth and move developing nations along the path charted by the industrial ones of the West, from relying primarily on agricultural activity to relying primarily on industrial production and trade. It is worth mentioning, however, that since my days as a graduate student, I have argued that the “economic development” concept was misconceived from the begin-ning. No plan or amount of money can develop an economy if it leaves out culture, which governs the attitudes and the ways of thinking of the people who would be managing the proposed development strategies and programs.
Mohamed Rabie

Chapter 3. Meaning of Sustainable Development

Abstract
The Club of Rome was the first organization to use the term “sustainable” in its 1972 report titled The Limits to Growth, written by a group of scientists led by Dennis and Donnella Meadows. Describing the desirable “state of global equilibrium,” the authors wrote, “We are searching for a model output that represents a world system that is: (1) sustainable without sudden and uncontrolled collapse; and (2) capable of satisfying the basic material requirements of all of its people.”1 But developing a world system where a state of equilibrium prevails requires balancing economic production, peoples’ actions and desires, and nature’s ability to renew depleted resources, when no one is able to determine the feasible rate of resource extraction or the actual rate of resource renewal or to control people’s actions.
Mohamed Rabie

Chapter 4. Culture and Society

Abstract
World history is the record of past events that are universally recognized as important and interesting to most peoples. Such events include war and peace, the creation of states and religions, the rise and fall of empires, and the consequences of such changes. While it has always been difficult to determine the nature of forces that control the course of history, it is thought and often claimed that the environment, circumstances, political leaders, ideologies, technological innovations, states, cultures, and ambitions of past leaders and empires have been responsible for making history and what we think of it.
Mohamed Rabie

Chapter 5. Development of Human Societies

Abstract
Historians and other social scientists, using various models and criteria, have defined several stages of societal development. Some have made the list lengthy; others have abbreviated it. However, each social scientist seems to acknowledge that the greatest revolutions in human history were the agricultural and industrial revolutions, which gave birth to the agricultural and industrial civilizations, respectively. Historians also acknowledge that these two revolutions have had the greatest impact on human ways of living and states of living, or on their cultures and economic conditions. There is also agreement on at least three major stages of societal development or civilization: the preagricultural, the agricultural, and the industrial stage. Nevertheless, a growing number of historians think that the information and communications revolutions represent another great revolution in human history that is destined to transform both the cultures and economic conditions of people everywhere.
Mohamed Rabie

Chapter 6. Economy and Society

Abstract
The existence of an economy is essential to the formation and sustenance of society. No society can survive without an economy efficient enough to meet, at the very least, the basic needs of its members. Every economy exists for the sole purpose of meeting the growing needs of people as life conditions change. Economy, therefore, is a component of society; and society is the framework within which economy functions. Because of this relationship, every society has its own economy, and every economy reflects the needs and cultural attributes of society, as well as the major traits of the civilization in which it lives.
Mohamed Rabie

Chapter 7. Economy and Globalization

Abstract
An expanding free market system, cheaper and more efficient transportation systems, and faster, more reliable communications systems have pushed national economies to link with each other, forming a global economy. Meanwhile, the internationalization of major financial, trade, and investment markets have made economic globalization a dynamic, self-sustaining, ever-expanding process that recognizes no political borders, ideologies, or national sovereignties. In the process, globalization has enabled regions within national borders to move in different directions at different speeds according to their particular strengths and historic connections to exploit available opportunities, causing many national economies to be divided into regional economies with characteristics different from the national one. As a result, some of the economic links that used to tie regions within nation-states together have begun to fracture, and others that link them to foreign markets have gradually strengthened.
Mohamed Rabie

Chapter 8. Perspectives on Development

Abstract
Mercantilism was probably the first theory of economic development the European nation-states invented; it called for the development of industry, the promotion of exports, and the limitation of imports through protectionism. But as these policies were being pursued with a vengeance, a world of interdependence was slowly emerging and making mercantilism controversial. Adam Smith published his thesis The Wealth of Nations in 1776, which brought new economic ideas and paved the way for the development of the classical economic theory.
Mohamed Rabie

Chapter 9. Cultural Theory of Development

Abstract
Though the concept of social capital has been with us for decades, its importance and relevance to societal development was recognized only recently. Today, social capital is viewed as an important factor of production, just like physical and human capital. Interest in culture and the role it plays in the development process led to the crystallization of the social capital concept; however, theorists promoting this concept tend to consider social capital a given aspect of culture. But social capital, unlike values, traditions, and attitudes, is something society creates and nurtures by conscious and unconscious actions; therefore, it is neither an aspect of culture nor a product of it only.
Mohamed Rabie

Chapter 10. Obstacles to Development

Abstract
Third World nations in general have much difficulty activating their largely stagnant economies and meeting the challenges of feeding, educating, and housing their growing populations. Problems facing the less developed nations are many and multifaceted; some nations face very difficult obstacles that require new visions and sustained efforts to be overcome. Nevertheless, all such nations face problems that emanate primarily from attachment to outdated values, attitudes, and ways of thinking, as well as lack of appreciation for time and work. Many also face challenges emanating from high population growth rates, often high illiteracy rates, ethnic and religious conflict, outdated traditional education systems, and political cor-ruption. The major problems, however, can be grouped under the following headings:
1.
Colonial legacy;
 
2.
Sociocultural heritage;
 
3.
Economic structure;
 
4.
Sociopolitical structure and organization;
 
5.
The political context; and
 
6.
Conceptions of time.
 
Mohamed Rabie

Chapter 11. Education and Development

Abstract
Since the appearance of early human societies, humankind’s search for food and security has never stopped; and humankind’s capacity to control and manipulate life conditions has never failed to make progress. Factors that contributed to this development included the evolution of private property, which made humankind’s struggle for wealth and against exploitation and slavery an unending story. However, progress toward higher levels of material and cultural achievements has come gradually; the slow development of technological innovations and social, cultural, and economic transformations made progress incremental. On the other hand, the development of agriculture and the formation of permanent human settlements gave birth to the idea of progress and the concept of change. But for people to be willing to change, they have to be aware of the promise and cost of change, which only life experience and education can facilitate.
Mohamed Rabie

Chapter 12. Stages of Sociocultural Transformation

Abstract
In this chapter and the one that follows, a new theory of development will be outlined, and a plan to achieve sustainable societal development will be articulated. Both the theory and the plan recognize that culture, the values it espouses, and the attitudes it nurtures in people play a decisive role in determining the extent of societal development. The theory also recognizes that cultures are living entities, developed by people; they grew and changed in the past, continue to grow and change today, and will grow and change further in the future. In fact, cultures will never stop growing and chang-ing. However, some cultures are more amenable to change than others, and therefore the capacity of culture to change differs from one society to another depending on the culture’s ideological core and the civilizational context within which it lives. Cultures, generally speaking, tend to change under the influence of their own dynamics as well as the influence of changing domestic and global conditions.
Mohamed Rabie

Chapter 13. Toward Sustainable Societal Development

Abstract
Third World cultures are generally incompatible with a globalized economy; they belong to a different era whose time has come and gone. If left alone, most developing countries would not be able to make adequate sociocultural and economic change to grow and free their peoples from poverty and need any time soon. Meanwhile, the economic, financial, and international challenges facing the rich nations are consuming their energies and undermining their capacities to provide the kind of assistance poor nations need and expect. A societal development strategy, therefore, needs to be devised to meet the needs of every developing nation and enable them to overcome the major obstacles that hinder change and retard progress. Since obstacles facing nations are not the same, and cultures vary from one place to another, each nation should be viewed as a special case.
Mohamed Rabie

Chapter 14. A World in Transition

Abstract
As the twenty-first century advances, life conditions in many countries have reached a dynamic stage; technologies to deal with every aspect of life are being developed at the speed of light, and count-less individuals, institutions, and organizations, having varied and oftentimes contradictory interests and goals, are leading this development process. A “world in transition” has emerged, where impersonal, institutional, and profit-maximizing entities and ideologically radical forces are assuming the leading role in instigating change, managing changed situations, and producing transformations of immense proportions and deep societal implications. A world in transition is a world in a state of continuous change, where change transforms living conditions, and living conditions transform ways of life, causing further change.
Mohamed Rabie

Chapter 15. Concluding Remarks

Abstract
The historical experience over the last few centuries has defined the path to social, political, and economic development and identified its basic requirements. It has proven that profound sociocultural trans-formations, industrialization, capital accumulation, technological innovation, freedom, knowledge, and trade are not only aspects of development but also major forces driving the development process. Nations that have attempted to develop since the 1950s but ignored two or more of these elements have failed to achieve their objectives. And because the developed nations have continued to make progress, the gap between the developed and developing nations has widened. These are gaps in scientific knowledge, levels of income and wealth, freedom, cultural achievements, political and military power, and quality of life. Such gaps are being widened at a time when capital as well as the whole body of knowledge and technology developed by all nations is increasingly becoming within reach of all states.
Mohamed Rabie

Backmatter

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