Blurring the Lines Between “Us” and “Them”

This is a ridiculously geeky thing to say, but I got really excited when I read this post. Because I get really excited when someone clearly articulates what I’ve been thinking or experiencing for years. There’s the usual stuff I bang on about: how the aid industry needs a fairly fundamental rethink or it will find itself marginalised if not obsolete. So, thanks Duncan, for providing me new fodder for my familiar arguments about aid effectiveness. I might bore people less now.


But here’s the potentially groundbreaking bit.   The notion of  “the abolition of an increasingly unhelpful division of the world into North and South. In its place, the aid business should find it easier to move into some more interesting and potentially more fruitful terrain.”  Wow, cool.  So aid doesn’t have to be about North and South, black and white, if we acknowledge that issues like poverty, inequality, climate change, and certain health matters like obesity, are global rather than developing world problems.   Imagine if development were about fixing all of “us” rather than fixing “them”.  Imagine if we tweaked our worldview to acknowledge that the world isn’t divided into those with problems, and those who have the solutions.  How radically would it change not only our mind frame but our approaches to development if we saw ourselves as being fully invested in both the problems and the solutions. Now THAT is exciting.  Am I the only one who thinks so?

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