International Development, Community, and Environment

Title

Changing the Culture of Underdevelopment and Unsustainability

Authors

Timothy Downs

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Complex relationships exist between human nature and needs, cultural evolution and ecological dynamics. The purpose of this paper is to present a working hypothesis that explores how we may reverse worsening underdevelopment, poverty and unsustainability trends world-wide. Empirical evidence from cultural history and contemporary project experience are used to suggest a development process that combines three critical dimensions: ethics, productive social interaction and knowledge integration. Logic dictates that the process should be applied in any given country to mobilize investment in supplies of natural, human and economic capital, principally biodiversity, soil and water conservation, education and public health. A sociopolitical theory of underdevelopment is presented to suggest that unethical virtual cartels control social interaction, knowledge integration and resource mobilization, precipitating negative feedback effects on human development, ecological stability and, ultimately, cultural evolution. The hypothesis was formulated using observations over 5 years in Mexico and case-study experience to initiate an alternative process of water resource conservation.

Publication Title

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management

Publication Date

1-1-2000

Volume

43

Issue

5

First Page

601

Last Page

621

ISSN

0964-0568

DOI

10.1080/713676578

Keywords

development, poverty, ecology, underdevelopment

Disciplines

Development Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology

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