ABOUT THIS BOOK
In his 1949 inaugural address, President Harry S. Truman heralded the era of international development, a “worldwide effort for the achievement of peace, plenty, and freedom” that would aim to “greatly increase the industrial activity in other nations and. . . . raise substantially their standards of living.” At the time, more than half of the world’s population lived in areas defined as underdeveloped; today, that figure surprisingly remains the same. Arguing that such persistent stagnation resulted partly from poor comprehension of the terms “developed” and “underdeveloped,” this provocative book revises our understanding of these fraught concepts.
Demystifying the statistics that international organizations use to measure development, the authors introduce the alternative concept of buen vivir: a state of living well. They contend that everyone on the planet can achieve this state, but only if we all begin living as communities rather than individuals and nurture our respective commons. With their unique take on a famously difficult issue, they offer new hope for the future of development—and of humankind.