Wolfram W. Latsch
Small-group seminars address current problems in international affairs, each focusing on one specific policy question and producing a joint task force report. Restricted to senior majors in International Studies. Prerequisite: SIS 200; SIS 201; SIS 202; SIS 401.
Bottom-up Development: Property, Microfinance, Entrepreneurship
Both old-style development policies (with their emphasis on capital accumulation and industrial protection) and neoliberal reforms (with their emphasis on budgets, inflation and liberalization) have had successes and failures. But they have something important in common: they all rely on large organizations and bureaucracies (governments, international financial institutions, multilateral mechanisms) and accredited experts for their implementation. But big organizations and experts have poor incentives to deliver, in effective and efficient ways, the goods, services and changes that the world's poorest people need or want. Recently the tide seems to be turning towards ideas and policies that empower the poor to make their own decisions and their own choices: the poor are increasingly seen as entrepreneurs, consumers, investors, and borrowers. This 'bottom-up' approach to global development is both promising and challenging, but it will almost certainly gain ground over the next years. In this task force students will investigate a variety of ways in which individuals, groups and organizations have instigated changes from the 'bottom up' that affect the livelihoods and prospects of the poorest. We will look at the role of microfinance and microcredit, the importance of the business and investment environment, at private-enterprise approaches to appropriate technology, and at 'social entrepreneurship' -- at ways in which NGOs, civil society and individual people, and businesses can make local and global connections and transactions with their own welfare (and their own profits!) in mind, making the most of the knowledge, expertise and initiative of the world's "six billion development experts". Students will investigate ways in which this 'new wave' of development initiatives might be recognized by, and incorporated into, the policies of the US government, and will issue recommendations for new ways of looking at, and implementing, US development policy and foreign assistance.
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