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Friday, April 20, 2018

Development beyond theorizing?

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Devising formulas or theorizing a phenomenon is in the instinct of human mind. But what happens to theorizing when "an unstoppable force faces an immovable object ?(Batman)" The thing is- there is no perfect formula for that answer. And proven formulas can be wrong like Icarus could not implement his devised up flying theory. Even scientists like Einstein mistakenly took the cosmological constant out of the equation and made blunder about the expansion of the universe (Brilliant Blunder-Mario Livio, 2013)

While all these wrong perceptions are quite common in the realm of theorizing, humungous challenge awaits while theorizing the much typed topic - DEVELOPMENT, also in a time, while the influence of NGO's in our country is very much debated.

The theory of development goes a long a way. From the 'trickle-down-effect' centric Rostow's development theory (which has already been proved to be invalid in our context) to the neo-liberalized theory, so much has been talked about development.

Dependency theory lost the momentum as something substantial because of the newly grown awareness among the 'to-be-dependent-on's because they do understand the idea of being exploited. But when the neoliberal theories gave birth to the Bretton Woods Organizations and lessened the authoritarian role of states, Post Washington consensus did bring upon the true need of Governance. But it is the Alternative theory of development that truly emphasized the role of NGO's in Bangladesh-at least to some extent.

Do all this theories truly encompass the ideas for development, especially in this hyper diving era of technological know-how? Some examples would say otherwise.No one would have believed at a point in the early 2000's that millions and millions of Bangladeshis would have been holding the same access to the world library of knowledge through internet at the same bandwidth speed, from Urban hip-hop kiddos to distant villages' illiterate farmers. Thanks to our mobile operators and their network advancements.

This handy device got so much popularity among the jam-prone Dhaka city dwellers that they got addicted to Pathao, Uber (urban quick and comfortable ride services) and once mighty CNG drivers are protesting to stop this kind of crunches on their own dishes. Even the unused workforces, left in the hearths and kitchen of our houses, are joining the money earning torchbearers.

By simply opening Facebook pages, taking orders, making products (food, handy crafts, T-shirts, importing necessary goods) and delivering them to the desired door-stops, people are breaking the real boundary of social dogma based on gender, class, status by their own virtual identities. And not just real qualities matter right now but virtual publicity, real or fake, is getting more and more popular. These unprecedented changes, were really thinkable quite a few years ago? Can we really connect the exact dots and extend it to predict how to contain this development?

Question of containment comes. Because with this huge leap in the sectors of development, moral degradation is really on the rise. Cybercrimes, hacking, blackmailing and being too much device-centric-human are some of the many problems. At this age, when every 5 years is like a quantum leap towards something absolutely new (and 5 years past becomes purely obsolete), question is whether the process offers containment or not, a big dilemma and side effect which is yet to be theorized !

Bottom line is while we are analyzing the nook and corners in our books of theories for drawing a regression based line of Bangladesh's development curve, the slope of this process is constantly changing. It's just like an alien microorganism in the body-the more we try to understand it, the more it gets resistant of our solutions and ultimately foiling our efforts.

Nature of communication modes are changing, priorities are shifting from collectiveness to individualism, we are getting interested more into ourselves by showcasing our moments in the museum-of-me aka Facebook/Instagram/Twitter than going out and doing something that truly matters to people. This kind of changes in mentality ultimately reshapes a generation's standard. At some point, this apex can be high enough to cherish but most of the times, it's the bitter side of the fate that occurs.

While devising theories of development for our country, these rapidly changing issues should be analyzed. Again there rises the obvious question from Dan Brown's Origin "Where are we going to?" "Is it calculable?" Theorizing it, possible or not- is left for the future. But it is sure to say like the BREXIT's incoming (at the pace the undecided British people are forwarding unknowingly), the theory would have to consider more variables than the previous ones, especially the abstract ones which we can only predict and can't take for granted!!

The writers - Nabid Mostafa Zisan, A.H.M. Mainul Islam, Md. Tanjim Hasan, Muhammed Ashraful Islam, Tasnova Zerin and Sajia Sultana Happy - are students of Development Studies, University of Dhaka

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