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L. Ladouce: Globalization and Development

Adapted from a presentation at UPF's European Leadership Conference
UNESCO headquarters, Paris, France, April 12-13, 2012

For decades, a purely economic approach to development prevailed and involved two key concepts: economic growth as the engine and end purpose of development and maximum short-term profitability as the universal justification for action.

But development should make our life more fully human. It should offer us new freedoms, not only more needs. Lytou Bouapao, the Director of Finance in the Ministry of Education of Laos, is an interesting case:

My background is Hmong. The Hmong minority of Laos is poorly integrated and thus can do little to develop the country. We were 11 children at home, my parents were illiterate. Yet, my father said that all his children would go to university. Being himself a hard-working leader he gave us a strict education. Each year, he would sell an ox, to pay for our studies. We managed, all boys and girls went at least to college. I studied in France, one brother got a Ph.D. in Germany, another one studied in Australia. A good living abroad was tempting. We are all in the homeland, working in the public sector: our father educated his children to be smarter than him - but not more selfish, materialist, greedy.

Such patterns exist in other developing nations, where the driving force behind development is the responsible heart of parents, who want their children to live a meaningful and valuable life, which will benefit the nation. As long as this heart remains, the challenges of development worldwide can be overcome. Is this view simplistic? Dag Hammarskjöld, former Secretary-General of the UN, had a similar motivation in approaching public office. Being head of the UN was not a job or a position, but a universal mission of service to the human family given by the ultimate parent:

From generations of soldiers and government officials on my father’s side I inherited a belief that no life was more satisfactory than one of selfless service to your country - or humanity. This service required a sacrifice (...) From scholars and clergymen on my mother’s side, I inherited a belief that, in the radical sense of the Gospels, all men were equals as children of God, and should be met and treated by us as our masters in God.

Likewise, among the guiding principles of the Universal Peace Federation's approach to development is the conviction that we are one human family created by God and that living for the sake of others is the way to reconcile the divided human family. The UPF also stresses that the family is the school of love and that spiritual and moral values have priority over material values.

The universe developed from the big bang until today. Living organisms develop. The gradual maturation of a self toward its completion, from potential to actuality, from “would be” to “be” is development. What grows, then, is simply the self.

Nations also develop, or grow toward national maturity. A nation is born, develops and becomes an embodiment of its  founding ideals. Part of the development concerns what Adam Smith coined The Wealth of Nations. While “prosperity” is rather static, “the wealth of nations” is a dynamic concept. As a snowball gets bigger, it may create an avalanche; likewise, the “wealth of nations” is an accumulation of capital, which is reinvested to generate more wealth. National development is a self-replicating national abundance.

Smith became the theoretician of a phenomenon called progress, modernization, or industrialization. The signs of a developed society are rationalization, organization, mechanization, automation. The nation-state is the framework for development to take place. Why is it so? Only the nation offers some of the decisive tools for economic take-off: beside provision for national security, a banking system and a national currency, a fiscal administration, and many infrastructures are needed. Development, therefore, is not just a notion of economy but of political economy; its most powerful symbol is the GNP. A key question is, “why do some nations develop, and not others?” This question is critical when one studies neighboring regions (North and South America, for instance), neighboring countries (Why did United Kingdom overtake France during the industrial revolution?), and nations that have been divided (West and East Germany, North and South Korea).

Of course, the leading nations of our world are not only wealthy. Power and influence also reflect a rich cultural heritage, a strong national ego, and sense of historical mission making them “models” which are envied or hated.

Yet, development is mostly seen as “economic growth”; this has long contaminated the whole notion of human development. In the 1840s, “Get richer ...” was the  motto of the French government, but the poet Charles Baudelaire noted:

The only true progress (i.e. the moral progress) takes place in the individual and by the individual himself (…) My theory of the civilization: it is not in gas, steam, or séance tables. It is in the reduction of the traces or original sin.

Development in nature means the completion of being, but political economy often equates it with an increase of having. But if people can have more, then what for? What do they gain, besides money? An improvement of what people do or what they are was neglected as irrelevant and secondary. Economic growth was seen as the key to all development. It relied on statism, a view which neglects the dynamics of civil society.

But a Copernican revolution modified our views of development. In order to understand the fruit (“what should be developed”), one needs to study the root, i.e. the human factor: “who is be to developed? And by whom?” Human development means fundamentally the growth of the human potential toward maturity and the ability to bequeath this legacy to one’s descendants. Examples show that behind national take off, we often  find remarkable individuals, with a sense of mission. Having built industrial empires in their lifetime, they bequeathed a legacy of good governance to their descendants, based on family ethics. In the Western world, many dynasties pioneered capitalism, and family businesses still count for much of the national prosperity. In modern Asia too, the basic development came from remarkable founders who are seen as patriots and who generally had strong family ethics, the so-called Asian values.

Development of the people, by the people, for the people

Political economy studies the role and responsibility of the modern State to provide development for the people. This however, is only a part of the human development. Global human development which will bring lasting peace is not just for the  people but of the people and by the people. Here, non-economic factors are at stake, namely psychological and ethical factors.

Ideal individuals, ideal families, ideal nations

Western philosophy has hitherto focused on creating the ideal society, or ideal nation, as illustrated by The Republic of Plato, The City of God of Augustine, The Utopia of Thomas More, or Das Kapital of Karl Marx. The quest of the ideal nation is a noble concern, and this passion has accelerated history, causing major reformations or revolutions.

These trends may have been an inevitable course of human history, but the main human development is yet to emerge on  the foundation of external change. Significantly, Dr. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of UPF, starts most of his speeches by talking about the perfected individual and the ideal family. Whereas the Western world tends to believe that an ideal society is possible but is rather cynical or skeptical about human perfection and family ethics, those two are the cornerstones of Dr. Moon’s philosophy of development. He thus advocates a revolution of conscience and heart.

Before the advent of Christ, human history accelerated through revolutions in agriculture, technology, writing, and reading as well as the birth of science and philosophy. Millions of lives were engulfed in radical changes. As a figure who shaped decisively the fate of mankind, Christ brought the vertical dimension, the connection between humankind and the Absolute Being. Hegel described "cosmohistoric" individuals, those with a universal value. Referring to the great founders of religions, Karl Jaspers talked about the "axial age" of human history [the period from 800 to 200 BC], when “the spiritual foundations of humanity were laid simultaneously and independently... And these are the foundations upon which humanity still subsists today.”

According to the British historian Arnold Toynbee, civilizations arise by the response of creative individuals to challenges. Progress in civilization consists in meeting difficulties by responding in creative ways that are internal and spiritual rather than external and material. The breakdown of society occurs when creative individuals fail to lead through the exercise of creative power, resulting in withdrawal of the allegiance of the majority and a subsequent loss of social cohesion. For Dr. Moon, the main figures of human development are the five great saints: Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, Jesus, and Muhammad.

In modern times, the Reformation played a crucial role. The Renaissance brought external progress in innumerable fields. But Max Weber and others have stated that without the internal reformation of Protestantism, much of democratic and capitalist development would have failed. Spain was potentially much richer than England for a time, but its modern development came later. Prosperity alone does not indicate clearly whether a nation is developing in the true sense.

Yet, more important than the role of brilliant individuals, Dr. Moon emphasizes the role of the family and sees the ultimate goal of history as to recreate the original human couple, the paradigm of Adam and Eve. His main contribution to human development was to focus first and foremost on the creation of the ideal individual and ideal family. There can be no complete national development before we have perfect individuals and perfect families. For decades, such statements would have seemed irrelevant in any consideration of “human development.” Yet, much of the recent innovations in economics have showed the decisive role of “human capital” (in the words of Gary Becker), corresponding to individual accomplishment, and family investment in children’s potential.

“Basic needs” and “chosen values”

The UN Development Programme has changed its approach to development from merely “economic growth” to “human development.” It meant that the main wealth of a nation is its people, not its natural resources. Humans have a potential that grows toward maturity. Human beings thus became the center of development; development was no longer an end in itself but became human development. The Index of Human Development, a term coined by Pakistani economist  Mahbub ul Haq, is a comparative measure of poverty, literacy, education, life expectancy, childbirth, and other factors for countries worldwide. It has become a standard  means of measuring well-being.

Another paradigm shift concerned “basic needs.” Human development cannot be only about caring for the needy and endlessly trying to satisfy basic needs because human nature cannot be defined merely by a person's basic needs. Human nature lies in the capacity to be liberated from needs and free for values, which are deliberately chosen. The economist Amartya Sen, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998, redefined development essentially in terms of human freedom, or “capability”:

Development can be seen ... as a process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy. Focusing on human  freedoms [or capabilities] contrasts with the narrower views of development, such as identifying development with the growth of gross national product, or with the rise in personal incomes, or with industrialization, or with technological advance, or with social modernization.

A highly developed person is surely not someone who is content with receiving many cultural, social and economic benefits. Rather, it is a creator who can satisfy many, by procuring them with a lot of spiritual and material values and help them become even better than him/herself. In a world where basic needs are satisfied, frustrations and conflicts may be absent. But beyond that, we seek the world where empowered and capable citizens creatively work together for the common good.

The spirit of development and development of the spirit

The main obstacle to development is the obstacle within human beings. In other words, even if we remove economic and social barriers, more internal fetters appear. There are places where, no matter how much money flows in, the “spirit of development” is missing. In some nations, economic growth is high and wealth is fairly distributed among people; yet, these societies remain strictly controlled. The Gulf States fall into this category. In other cases, a high degree of development is accompanied by social unrest, juvenile delinquency, organized crime, seen as “necessary evil” or “the dark side of progress.” Many Western nations are regularly ranked among the most developed, but their mood is far from being cheerful and enthusiastic, as reflected in high rates of suicides, alcoholism and addictions, and family breakdown. Most of the Western world experienced a sharp decline demographically and in spiritual and moral values, starting in the 1960s. The so-called “postmodern” culture is often a smokescreen for decadence and nihilism.

Moreover, a truly developed nation would have many disciple nations emulating it. It happened in the European Union when newcomers quickly began to catch up (for example: Spain, Portugal, and Ireland), and also in the Far East, where the four "Asian Tigers" (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan) inspired many emulators. The USA and Canada should likewise create a partnership of Pan American development with Central and South America. The Middle East and Africa still lack a contagion of successful growth.

The three dimensions of human development

Human development can be understood to mean three different things:

The development of human beings: anthropology, embryology, and genetic psychology (the study of the influence of genetic factors on personality development)

The development of human beings is a branch of anthropology, the science which studies homo sapiens. Human development is the growth of human nature toward maturity through a gradual process. All living beings  develop and grow, but humans develop differently. Why? Because their nature is different. Concerning the physical  dimension of human development, embryology focuses on the life of the fetus from conception to birth. Developmental biology focuses on issues such as health, longevity and ageing.

Diverse disciplines study the mental human development. Exploring the acquisition of knowledge, Jean Piaget pioneered cognitive psychology. Erik Erikson pioneered the study of “life-span development,” identifying several stages of the human psychological development from birth to death. Lawrence  Kohlberg described stages of moral reasoning and development. James Fowler applied the  tools of developmental psychology to the religious life and suggested the existence of stages of faith. All these disciplines seek to understand the laws governing the growth of the human spirit.

Human beings are beings of conscience, with freedom and responsibility. A highly developed person is thus a person of mature character, who is the responsible creator of his or her individual destiny. In the development of human beings, conscience is the main catalyst of growth and main judge to evaluate whether the individual’s life is blossoming.

The central purpose of education is to make the self conscious and conscientious. The truly developed person will not only inherit the knowledge and morals of ancestors through rote learning and imitation but will arrive at a complete spiritual, intellectual, and moral autonomy. In case of failure, the individual will be at war with himself and can become destructive. The primary conflict is the conflict that appears within the self, between the ought and the is, between the image of our ideal self, and our reality. This led Johan Galtung to stress, in 1969, while in India:

Ultimately, the individual is the unit. The liberation of the individual from whatever is alienating his personal fulfillment, that should be the primary focus of the peace study. The study of peace becomes the science of the human accomplishment.

The individual's impact on economic development was highlighted by Gary Becker, the Nobel Prize laureate in Economics in 1992. He introduced the concept of “human capital”:

Human capital refers to the skills, education, health, and training of individuals. It is capital because these skills or education are an integral part of us that is long-lasting. Human capital – education, on-the-job and other training, and health – comprises about 80% of the wealth in advanced countries. The importance of human capital is illustrated  by  the outstanding records of Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and other fast-growing Asian economies. They have managed to grow rapidly in significant part because they have had a well-trained, well-educated, and hard-working labor force, and dedicated parents. If you look at Korea, prior to the Korean War, the north was the richer part of Korea. Today North Korea is an economic disaster while South Korea is a prosperous, democratic nation. All the Asian Tigers are highly educated. You cannot grow without a strong human capital base. Success depends on how well a nation utilizes its people.

Development by human beings (self development)

The development of human beings is self-development or individual-ism. How can it also become a development for human beings or altruism? In politics, a social contract (Hobbes, Rousseau) connects the individual and the State. The individual becomes a citizen. Likewise, economists have focused on the economic contract that connects individual wealth and collective wealth. For Adam Smith, an invisible hand was working in free-market economies to adjust and harmonize competing self-interests. The idea of the invisible hand gave birth to many speculations. Here again, Gary Becker offers insights, by stressing the role of the family. The family is where the development by human beings facilitates the development of human beings:

Where does human capital come from? What constitutes a successful investment in human capital, either at the individual or national level? The family is the foundation of a good society and of economic success. To understand human capital, you have to go back to the family, because it is families that are concerned about their children and try, with whatever resources they have, to promote their children’s education and values. Families are the major promoters of values in any free society and even in not-so-free societies.

In the development of human beings, individuals cultivate their human capital, the conscience being the main agent of personal growth. But much of human development takes place emotionally and relationally within the family dynamics. The development by human beings is mostly the family investment in children’s potential. In 2002, the Joint Center for Poverty Research and the Irving B. Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago in the US conducted a conference on this topic. One paper suggested that parents work for the betterment of their children and the well-being of the community when they invest in the following five Ss:

  • safety/sustenance
  • stimulation
  • socio-emotional support
  • structure
  • surveillance

Several American universities now teach a discipline called “human development and family studies.” It studies human emotional development through the various ages of life, from childhood to death; human beings are primarily emotional beings who seek happiness through giving and receiving love in their milieu, first in the family life and then in the community.

A highly developed person is mature in the art of loving and being loved, and has gone successfully through the stages of filial love, fraternal love, conjugal love, and parental love. In the development by human beings, parents are the main agents to shape their children’s destiny. A family who establishes these four realms of love can bequeath a legacy to its descendants and initiate a successful dynasty.

However, such life-span studies may not offer the complete picture of human development. We should also take embryology into consideration (the life of the fetus), and even before that, the heredity of human beings. For example, the Jacobs Foundation Series on Adolescence studies human development not only over one’s life course, but across generations.

Even beyond that the complete picture of human development includes the area of eternal life and its relation to earthly life. Religions and philosophies contain warnings similar to Jesus' words from Matthew 16:26: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Development for human beings (political economy)

Adam Smith studied how societies take off economically and how the wealth produced improves the human condition; here, human beings are mostly seen as the citizens of organized States, as well as producers and consumers. A highly developed person is, therefore, a citizen who benefits from an affluent society and in return takes part in the political life. The main body which accounts for this human development is the State. Should it fail to procure development for human beings, sharp conflicts will arise.

After the creation of the UN Development Programme in 1965, a partnership between international agencies, international banks. and newly independent States seemed to be necessary and sufficient to promote economic growth. But the UN and international agencies started to revise their attitude upon seeing the achievements of NGOs working directly with the local people. Moreover, NGOs have been drawing upon the resources of indigenous anthropologists and ethnologists. This brought a change of focus from development to human development:

Human development is more than the rise of national incomes, and much more than economic growth, which is only a means of enlarging people’s choices. It is about creating an environment in which people can develop their full potential and lead creative lives. People are the real wealth of nations. Development is about expanding the choices people have to lead lives that they value. As Aristotle said in ancient Greece, “Wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking, for it is merely useful for the sake of something else.”

How life is defined influences the strategy of development. Viewed externally, human life may look like the survival of the fittest: life is competition, human relationships are mostly relations of power, especially in economics and politics. In order not be crushed by others, one has to defend oneself and be competitive. In such a world, the only realistic peace is security: for individuals, families, or nations. Borders are set and defended. Huge budgets are allocated to police forces and armed forces. New rights are added to satisfy each social segment. In the midst of such stress, alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, and divorce rates rise. In the quest for enjoyment, the leisure iand entertainment industries become the mainstream of culture. Development seen as empowerment stresses knowing your own interest, asserting your rights, developing your reason and capacity to argue, promoting yourself, your lifestyle, your category, your competitive edge.

Ideally, religion should offer a clear road map of life on earth so that people will enjoy an eternal reward, mostly by caring for others; religion has sometimes failed to do that, but materialism is worse. It offers artificial paradises at low costs here on earth, through self-centered lifestyles.

Development of the global human family

The Universal Peace Federation envisions peace not merely as security but harmony, cooperation, and concord. To this end, the UPF mobilizes the universal resources of humankind beyond ethnic, national,and religious borders. With this view of peace in mind, the UPF promotes global development, both as a conceptual framework and as a base for its practical peace initiatives.

The full development of the human being

A fully developed human being fulfills the purpose of life and thus experiences joy. The UPF identifies three life goals:

  • Our first life goal is the maturity of character. “Character is destiny,” said Heraclitus, meaning that our fate is shaped by who we are. Character education is crucial for development toward maturity. Traditionally, virtues such as justice, courage, wisdom, and moderation have been considered evidence of a good character. For UPF, the core of the good character is heart, the emotional impulse to seek joy through love. Only when the human heart grows in giving and receiving love properly will the person embody virtues. Young people should be joyfully stimulated to become good. UPF promotes moral education which can harmonize traditional and modern values, Eastern and Western values, spiritual and material values. Moreover, UPF relies on experiential learning: character education is more effective when people do certain things in real life situations and then reflect on it with their peers and coaches.
  • Our second life goal is to experience lasting love and joy in relations with others. This primarily takes place in the family, where we learn to love as children, siblings, spouses, and parents. Here again, UPF offers a comprehensive picture of the family dynamics and family ethics and has a unique record of pioneering marriages across national and religious boundaries. Moreover, UPF shows how the family works as a school of love, how the love for the family extends in patriotism and love for the world. In the 1960s, the Western world started to experience the sexual revolution, which claimed to be the ultimate liberation. Significantly, during this period, Dr. Moon and his wife introduced the slogan of world peace through ideal families. It is a revolutionary view of marriage and parenting.
  • Our third life goal is to benefit the community with our creativity. This has much to do with our professional occupation, though not exclusively. People study many years and then advance their career in their speciality. Any person has a desire to use skills to do something valuable which will serve the community and be given recognition. Creativity means dominion over all things; it includes the capacity to invent and the ability to implement inventions. The incentive to constantly learn and improve professionally is strong but stressful. Here, a key focus of UPF is good governance and the development of mature character and strong family ethics are core qualifications for leadership.

The notion of life goals offers a road map for the lifespan human development from the fetus until death. Each person should be able to measure his or her destiny against a universal standard. In other words, we should ask ourselves: did I achieve the goals for which I was born, the goals which make a human being fully human?

What is the model of excellence, then? In the past, the model was the French gentilhomme or English gentleman, or Spanish hidalgo, a person of good birth achieving a noble life. China had the Confucian ideal of  Jūnzi. Such moral standards concerned men of a certain social class, however. But the ultimate purpose of global human development is to guide all human beings toward excellence. UPF talks about three major titles, or abilities.

  • First, we should be a teacher. The ability held by a teacher is authority, given by wisdom. Whether or not we are professional teachers, we must all cultivate wisdom. Wisdom is non-partisan thought for practical action. Common sense and experience may advise wisdom but its origin is the conscience. Wisdom is to always consult the voice of the conscience for  practical and responsible behavior. Moreover, wisdom teaches to others only what it has experienced successfully. And  true mastership is to dominate oneself before trying to settle situations. In many situations, a figure of authority often emerges, whose attitude, thoughts, behavior are the wisest. Any community is eager to consult such figures who teach by example and by giving guidance. For instance, Nelson Mandela achieved the stature of a teacher not only in South Africa but far beyond.
  • Second, we should be a parent. Parents hold the ability to bequeath love, life, and lineage to their children, with the hope that they will be better than themselves. Parenthood is the culminating experience of love. All the love accumulated as a child, as a brother or sister, and as a spouse, bears fruit when one becomes a parent. Parental love is sacrificial, in the sense that parents seek to give everything to their children, even their lives, but this sacrificial love must not be possessive. Good parents want the love invested in their children to benefit others. Parental power is the archetype of all other institutional forms of power, such as being the mayor of a city, the president of a country and so forth.
  • Third, we should be a master. The ability held by a master is dominion, given by creativity. We may not all be geniuses but we all feel compelled to develop our skills throughout our lifetime. Creativity should be explicitly value-oriented, since creation should aim at the values of truth, beauty, and goodness.

The fully developed, or ideal, human being is thus a teacher, parent, and master. Likewise, the fully developed society or ideal society maintains a balance of authority, power, and dominion. It is a society where teachers, parents, and creators unite around a harmonious vision of the collective dream. A developed society will find the proper balance between respect for the past traditions, concern for the present situation, and vision for the future. UPF calls the highly developed society the ideal society of universally shared values, interdependence and mutual prosperity.

Working for the global family of humankind

Becoming a teacher, parent, and master is the vertical axis of human development. It is what we should live for. But whom should we live for? On the horizontal axis of human development, some people become teachers, parents, and creators for a limited circle, say their family and relatives. But desire and ambition may prompt people to live for something bigger than their family. Our hometown is a wider scope of love and of public recognition. Still wider, we have our nation. If possible, we should live for the world. Does the world represents the widest scope of love? Humanism would say yes, but UPF sees the ultimate horizon of human development as Heaven. The ultimate recognition of merit is not given by fellowmen only but by the eternal Heaven.

Thus, globalization is a significant and inevitable trend of history which will bring all humankind towards a peaceful harmony. Globalization started externally, in economics and politics, and resulted in increasing interdependence. But globalization most fundamentally offers a spiritual and moral opportunity for a broader love: not just the free circulation of commodities but the opportunity offered to live for one's family, nation, the world, and heaven, without restrictions.

This life for the sake of others should guide our horizontal expansion. First, each human being should be born well, in a loving and stable nuclear family, who welcomes them into the big human family. Living for the sake of others means developing the art of loving our parents, our siblings, our spouse, and our children and grandchildren.

The family is not an end in itself, however. A protective nest of love, it is also a school of citizenship. The good family will make its children good citizens for their community and good patriots for their nation and beyond. As US President John F. Kennedy said:

Ask not what your country can do for  you—ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you.