Community Development : Globalization or a Global Village?
The Basic IssueGlobalization is not a new concept to God. It seems He has waited a long time for us to view the world from his perspective, but it may be a long time yet before we view it with His attitude. That is the basic issue.
The disastrous events at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, have brought home to North Americans the reality of the global village, and the discomfort of many with globalization. Gone are the days when we can study "Rural Community Development" as a process tailored to maximizing satisfaction of the needs and wants of North Americans, separate from an optional extra course on "Rural Community Development from a Global Perspective".
Paulo Frieire, in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, commented that a friend of his insisted that North American Educational innovations that were not looked at through the screen of practicality in the enormous arena of third world's desperate reality, were irrelevant. The same could now be said for every aspect of North American life. For us to remain oblivious to the larger world context within which we all live, is to be as foolish as the man in the story who called out "Ha-ha, your end of the boat is sinking".
These pages attempt to encourage a reflection on the implications for Local Community Development practice in Westman of the "global village" reality. "Globalization", as such, is but one unfortunate part of the "global village" reality, reflecting as it does, our predisposition to turn everything we touch to our own advantage at the expense of the advantage of others.
My outlook has been profoundly affected by two things:
Both these perspectives will be overtly brought in periodically, but underlie the tone of the whole section of this web site.
- First, is the general background influence of Biblical based Christianity in my life.
- Second, is the 1999 edition of the handbook Rural Development - Principles, Policies, Management by Katyr Singh Writing out of the Indian sub-continent, this author paints a vivid picture of the working conditions off the North American oasis, not by telling us about it, but rather, by allowing us to listen in to his excellent handbook-guidance for local community development workers there. The effect arises not so much form anything said, as from the overall picture of a group of practitioners repeatedly struggling to push the proverbial "rock of Sisyphus" up the mountain only to have it roll back down again, making our task seem easy indeed.
I do not assume that everyone will be coming from the same perspective as I do, but I do assume that you, as readers, are mature enough to do your own translation of what I have to say into your own idiom.