Atanu Dey On India's Development

Misconception #8: Curing a disease by intensifying its cause

While reading a paper ‘Sustainable Development’ by David Korten in which he surveys a bunch of publications around 1991-92, I came across his critique of the Brundtland Commission report. What he wrote there reminded me of Schumacher’s comment in ‘Small is Beautiful’ [1973].

“The neglect, indeed the rejection, of wisdom has gone so far that most of our intellectuals have not even the faintest idea what the term could mean. As a result, they always tend to try and cure a disease by intensifying its causes.”

Korten writes:

“The (Brundtland Commission) report’s key recommendation – a call for world’s economic growth to rise to a level five to 10 times the current output and for accelerated growth in the industrial countries to stimulate demand for the products of poor countries – fundamentally contradicted its own analysis that growth and overconsumption are the root causes of the problem.”

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