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What does ‘progress’ mean in the 21st century? Despite much talk of ‘globalisation’, there are still vast inequalities between different parts of the world. Old models of economic and material progress seem discredited and outdated. New development thinking questions whether Western notions of progress simply serve the interests of Western corporations rather than local people, damaging traditional ways of life. Climate change has given added impetus to the debate, with the world’s poor often presented as on the frontline of imagined global catastrophe. We are frequently told that for everyone in the world to enjoy the lifestyle of the affluent West, we would need several more planets. But when the world’s ‘haves’ preach sustainable development, often betraying a nostalgia for pre-modern ways of life, is there a danger of indulging in hypocrisy?
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director, WORLDwrite, WORLDbytes and Chew On It productions
executive director, War on Want; author, The Poverty of Capitalism: Economic Meltdown and the Struggle for What Comes Next
|Dr Lee Jones
lecturer, international relations, Queen Mary, University of London
|Professor Michael Redclift
professor of International Environmental Policy in the Department of Geography at King's College, London; first recipient of the Frederick Buttel Award; author Frontiers: histories of civil societies and nature.
director, Institute of Ideas; panellist, BBC Radio 4's Moral Maze; author, I Find That Offensive