The most developed place on Earth

921 views
880 views

Published on

Social capital investment for fostering community development | Augusto de Franco (2004)

Published in: Business, Economy & Finance
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
921
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
6
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
7
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

The most developed place on Earth

  1. 1. THE MOST DEVELOPED PLACE ON EARTH Social capital investment for fostering community development Augusto de Franco 2004 1
  2. 2. The most developed place on earth: social capital investment for fostering communitydevelopment2004 by Augusto de FrancoObra entregue ao Domínio Público. 2
  3. 3. IndexForewordIntroductionChapter 1 | Social Capital and community developmentChapter 2 | Overcoming myths and prejudice for fostering local developmentChapter 3 | The pillars of local developmentChapter 4 | A glocal reference: “Earth Charter”Chapter 5 | Social innovation 3
  4. 4. ForewordThe purpose of this book is to propose an investment in human development by investing insocial development. In other words it is the investment in people in order to improve their livingconditions by themselves. There is however an important difference. The proposal hereto is thatthis should be done through investment in the local community to improve their socialinteraction conditions.Thus, the proposition is an investment in the social environment to generate the necessary“energy” for human and social sustainable development.This “energy” can also be understood as a kind of “social power”. This “social power”, whichflows from the collective to the individual, is called empowerment. Without this “power” there isno development for the collective (social development), nor the individual (humandevelopment). There can be even a spur of growth, but it will not bring improvements to thequality of life or social interaction in the long run (i.e., it will not be a sustainable development).This “energy” – the source of resources that calls for development – has been studied lately asthe new kind of “capital”: the so called social capital.This book proposes that you become a different kind of investor: “a social capital investor”.The results of its applications will be visible in the very first year, but you should be a littlepatient and wait for the process to pick its own dynamics and be able to “stand on one’s ownlegs”.In average you will not get any results before a three years period in terms of local autonomy andprojection. For those who invest in other means of non-speculative capital, we must say, it is avery reasonable time considering the return on investment. And indeed, the investment in socialcapital is very rewarding.The investment proposed aims to transform the community that lives in an area you have chosento live in, work or spend time at, into a community that shares a common dream – a collectivedream of a new future. Strictly speaking, the investment proposed seeks to build a projectcommunity.What for? To transform the place you want to live in into the best place in the world; to build themost developed place on earth for you. In fact, it is an ambitious but doable target, and itdepends only on what we want to understand by development. 4
  5. 5. IntroductionA new trend is arising in Brazil and in several other countries around the world to combatpoverty: • Investing in the permanent capacities of the people and in favorable social environments instead of just offering resources. • Fostering a sustainable human and social development instead of practicing assistencialist and clientelist programs. • Building partnerships between individuals and social organizations, companies and governments at all levels, to execute innovative programs of investment in human and social capital instead of just waiting for the State to provide them. • Focusing on assets the community has instead of acting by sectors to meet the needs of the populations. • Starting from mapping the latent potentialities that can boom raising new resources instead of starting from bureaucratic diagnostics and complaining about the lack of budget. • Solving the problems of the community, taking initiative, adding competence and assuming responsibilities to foster local development instead of waiting for someone from outside or above to come and solve the problems.It is a new wave getting bigger in the last years: the wave of local development.It can deeply change the way governments, companies and social organizations act, increasingefficiency and effectiveness combating poverty.The traditional programs to fight poverty are not effective. Most of the times, these programsfeed on poverty, feed poverty and maintain poverty.The governments must understand that centralized, assistencialist and clientelist programs do notachieve good results. It’s high time such actions were surpassed.Companies are aware that the exercise of corporate social responsibility or private socialinvestment cannot be based on assistencialist or sectored and disjointed program.What is best: adopting 200 children from a poor community catering for their needs concerninghealth and education, or building conditions so that this community can take care of their ownunderprivileged children?What is more sustainable? What is more viable? 5
  6. 6. Civil society has been taking the initiative – most times in partnership with governments andcompanies - in fostering integrated and sustainable development processes in thousands of placesin the country.What is DLIS?In the last few years several strategies and methodologies regarding local development inductionhave been taken. There is a variety of experiences in process at the moment: local economicdevelopment, sustainable local development, Local Agenda 21, social-productive systems andalternative and solidary social economic network on a local basis. In Brazil, the widestexperience since last decade is the DLIS – Sustainable and Integrated Local Development.Different from other methodologies of local social development promotion, the DLIS is,fundamentally, a strategy of investing in the social capital. This strategy is applied throughinnovative social technologies of network articulation and consolidation of the democratic-participative processes performed in local scale. There is a methodology which guides the use ofthese technologies and thus, puts the DLIS strategy in operation.The DLIS methodology basic steps are the following: 1) Each community makes a participative diagnosis to get to know their reality, identify their problems and uncover their calling and potentials. 2) A development plan is formulated based on this diagnosis, also in a participative way. 3) From this plan, an agenda of priority actions is drawn and then it should be carried out by several partners: the local community, the City Hall, the state government, the federal government, the companies and social organizations. 4) All this is organized by a democratic forum formed by local leaderships. 5) These local leaderships participate in a qualification process to be able to carry out an entrepreneurial community management of their development process. 6
  7. 7. CHAPTER 1Social Capital and community developmentThis chapter deals with a very important subject: how it is possible for any community to startfostering its own development, on its own way, focusing on their own potential, making use oftheir capacity to invest in their own human and social assets.We have to start with two fundamental questions: 1- What is development? 2- What is community?It will all depend on the answers we give to these two questions.If you think of development as the automatic result of the economic growth of a community –which can be evaluated, for example, by the number of buildings, automobiles and other thingsusually associated with progress – I am sorry to say this book is not going to help you.If you think that community means any human collectivity, this book will also have no use foryou.In this chapter and in the ones to follow, you will find the pillars of local development, construedas the development of groups of projects stemming from the communities themselves.A silence that explains a lotYou have probably, when in a car or bus is traveling along the roads in the country, passed bymany poor underdeveloped towns. This town could even be the one you live in.In general, what do you see in these occasions? Many flower beds? Stone benches surrounded bywell kept gardens? A fabulous portal where the young welcome the visitors, hand over flowersand brochures telling the story and describing the geography of the place and the good things ithas, the products they produce, the celebrations they have?No. What you see are the rusty car parts, old tires, rubble, dirty facades, cracked and peelingwalls, broken awning window glasses; and, besides all that, debris and garbage, a lot ofaccumulated garbage. 7
  8. 8. It is really a very sad picture.If you enter this town and ask the people who live there why they do not take care of the entranceof their own town, they will look at you in surprise and say: “Well, because it is none of mybusiness.” Or, maybe they will say: “It is the responsibility of the politicians who do not doanything.”And if you respond: – “If the politicians don’t do anything, why don’t you do something?Wouldn’t it be possible for you to gather twenty or thirty people and on a Sunday morning start ateam work to remove the garbage, paint the facades and replace broken glasses? – silence wouldprobably be the aswer. Pay close attention to this silence; it explains a lot.The silence that explains why a community is consideredunderdevelopedWell, then you enter the city and look for the local leaderships: the mayor, the town councilmembers, community leaders, the rural and urban union presidents, the owner of the bakery andthe drugstore, the priest and the pastor, the judge, the bank manager. You look for these peopleto talk to them about the development of that community.Let’s say you manage to have a meeting with some of these people, and that during the meetingyou ask them if in that community there are illiterate young adults who dropped out of schoolbefore learning how to read and write. You ask them how many illiterate young adults there areand if it is possible to know who they are. There will probably be some discussion, nobody willknow the exact number and after a quick exchange of opinions the answer will come: “Well, wemay have here approximately three hundred illiterate young adults.”You keep asking: “And do you know these young adults, where they live?” They will answeryes, and may even start listing names: the son of Toinha, who helps his father in the plantation,there are also three kids of Esmenia’s, who lost her husband last year…” and the list keeps goingon indefinitely with the contribution of the other surrounding people .At this point you interrupt them and ask: “But why did you let the situation go this far?”Their first reaction will be defensive; they will try to justify with something of the sort (and itdoesn’t matter if you are in the state of Para or Bahia or in the Ribeira Valley, in Sao Paulo):“The government (state or federal) doesn’t help. We are not strong enough and alone we can’t domuch. Besides that, there is so much to be done… The Town Hall doesn’t have a cent, can’t evenpay the workers’ payroll and the people don’t want to do anything, they are not united, everyonly mind their own business, their lives”.Then you ask: “But, come on people, is it possible that in this town, which has almost twentythousand inhabitants (let’s assume it is the case), does not have a retired teacher, a bank managerwith some spare time, a more advanced student with some free nights or any other person who 8
  9. 9. can teach these young adults? Is it so difficult to organize some classes every day from 7 to 9 pmin a room in the church or in the union headquarters?The answer will be be “No”, they will say that it is not possible to do this; that it has alreadybeen tried once by Mr. So and So, but the thing died down when Mr. so and so moved to thestate capital.You keep insisting and ask: “But if it is so easy, why don’t you do it?”Then you will receive silence again as an answer; a thick, deep silence which explainseverything. Explains why that community is considered underdeveloped.The right questionTo understand what development is, the question we have to ask cannot be why a certaincommunity was able to develop; or where the resources to foster this development came from; oreven, who had the ingenious idea of investing there, in this or that economic sector, whichprospered and boosted the development of the community as a whole.To understand what community development is, the question we have to ask is why thecommunity is not able to develop, what is preventing the community from developing; or, inother words, why the people are not, collectively, having the initiative to foster their owndevelopment.This is the right question.The answer to this question will lead us straight to a new concept, to a new idea that tries toexplain why, in certain social environments, the people feel they have enough power to foster,collectively, their own development and why in other environments the people are notempowered enough to do so.And also why, in certain societies, people believe in one another and trust each other when theydecide to do something together; from a joint action to clean the entrance of the town to a localliteracy program for young adults. And, on the contrary, why in other communities peoplealways think they are weak to do anything, that they always need somebody from outside –stronger, more powerful, with more resources – to solve their problems; that alone they willnever be able to solve anything. In these communities people do not believe in one another, theydo not risk anything with the other because they think he/she will let them down when they needthem the most. They are afraid of committing themselves to helping somebody and later, whenthey need help, nobody will do the same for them.The name of the new concept, which was built to explain this difference, is social capital.To understand what social capital is, it is not enough to have a definition to the term. Socialcapital is an idea that has to do with people’s power to do something collectively; but it is a“social power”. It is the society that bestow this power (i.e., empowers) on its individuals. It is 9
  10. 10. the social environment that blows this kind of “energy” which explains, for example, why certaincommunities seem to be “alive” while others seem to be dying or withering.That is, this “social power” depends on the way the political power is organized and how it acts.If the political power is vertically, hierarchically structured as a pyramid – with few on the topand many at the bottom with few connections among them – this “political power” will be highlyreduced and people will be afraid to risk. They will be untrustworthy of one another and will notdo much as a group. And if the political power acts in a centralized and authoritarian way, if itdoes not try to create conditions to encourage the collective participation, to help people makecollective decisions democratically, this political power will be low.On the contrary, if there are lots of social networks – i.e., if the people are connected with oneanother and if they can have multiple ways to reach one another – and if, besides that, there areseveral democratic-participative processes taking place (councils, forums, and developmentagencies with the presence of people from the government, the companies and the organizationsfrom the society), this “political power” will be high.In other words, the more networks and participative democracy there is, the higher the level, thestock or the flow of social capital in a society. And, the fewer networks and democratic-participative processes there are, the lower the social capital of a community will be.Well, the lower the social capital of a community is, the lower its development will be - there isno mistake or exception. A community with insufficient level of social capital will haveinsufficient level of development. It does not matter if you bring to this community a hugecompany which will hire everybody. From a development point of view this people will keep onbeing poor and the community will remain poor, because from this point of view – and contraryto what is so often repeated – poverty is not the insufficiency of income but it is the insufficiencyof development.If we are in agreement, we have to go back to our fundamental question to understand whatcommunity development is. The fundamental question is: why isn’t a community developing,what is preventing it from happening? Or, in other words, why aren’t people collectively takingthe initiative of fostering their own development?We will insist on this question. If we do not answer it, we cannot understand why a certaincommunity is considered well developed and another is considered underdeveloped.The big exterminators of the social capitalThe question is to discover what is preventing the people from exercising the leading role in thesolution of their own problems and why they are not able to use the several opportunities that aredaily open before their own eyes.Why? 10
  11. 11. The answer has to do, as we have said, with the way political power is structured and how it acts.It has to do, in other words, with the organizational standards and the ways to regulate (conflicts)in practice.If people keep waiting for the things that can get better in their lives to come always from above,from some greater power and, believing in that, they remain paralyzed, so, they cannot develop,neither individually nor collectively. However, people are not born with these beliefs (that is,they are not born believing that good things come from above and disbelieving themselves); thiscame to their heads at some moment, somebody put it there, some kind of political systeminterested in making people think this way and preventing them from acting by themselves, fromwalking with their own legs.What for? To make them always dependent on an intermediary, dependent on somebody to act asa middleman of the public funds and also as a godfather to offer protection, give directions, giveadvantages, favor, and privileges and that in return for these services will get the votes and theseveral kinds of support necessary to keep them where they are or to conquer another position ofpower. A vertical chain is formed this way – a chain where the lower links are the townrepresentatives and the mayor, but that passes through the state representatives and the governor,the federal representatives and the senator and reaches the president. But that also involvesseveral other people, such as part of the state bureaucracy and the people holding positions oftrust – the main auxiliaries such as the ministers and the state and municipal secretaries and acrowd of assistants – who work, direct or indirectly, to fulfill the political intentions of those whoappointed them.In general, the political systems vertically organized and mostly acting autocratically can onlykeep their position if they deactivate the will to risk, the leading role, the collective participation.They do that through three main practices: the centralization, the assistencialism and theclientelism.These three practices are the great exterminators of the social capital. The more centralism,assistencialism, clientelism are practiced in a community, the lower its social capital will be, andtherefore, the lower the development level of the community will be.What is necessary to explainA community – if it is really a community and not only a collectivity of people settled in oneterritory – will not develop only if there is something preventing it from happening. And acollectivity settled in one territory will not become a true community only if there is somethingpreventing it from happening.To say this means to assume the following: that human beings in society, left to their owndevices, are able to generate spontaneous order from their interaction, but only if this interactionis – to some degree – cooperative. 11
  12. 12. But it means to say, besides that, that this interaction will always be – to some degree –cooperative, unless something prevents the social amplification of this cooperation, inducing asystematic competition, a competition so strong that it will make the social amplification of thiscooperation impossible.This is social capital: cooperation socially amplified; cooperation that reproduces itself socially.There wouldn’t be any human society if the human beings did not spontaneously cooperate withone another.It is not necessary to explain cooperation. What is necessary to explain is the lack of cooperation.According to this point of view, the human being is intrinsically cooperative; if not, it is nothuman. There is here, obviously, an anthropological bet which puts itself at a distance from theDarwinian biological views which say that the human beings (or their genes, or their memes) areintrinsically competitive.Those who work with community development have to make that bet; if they don’t, they hadbetter stop working with communities. Communities are the result of human being’s capacity tocooperate when put together in interaction for a certain period.Somebody may say that such a bet is not a very scientific thing; science could never prove thathuman beings are able to cooperate spontaneously, and they will be right. This bet is not at allscientific; as the bet on democracy is not scientific either. Nobody can scientifically show thatdemocracy is a better system (or less worse) than the others. There is, by the way, a lot ofevidence in contrary.For example, how can those who know something be governed by those who don’t?How can somebody who does not have sufficient knowledge about the ecological implications ofan enterprise (for example the construction of a dam or the transposition of a river) be able tomake key decisions about these enterprises, decisions which can bring about seriousenvironmental consequences?However, notwithstanding all that, we would rather bet on democracy; bet on democracy alsomeans, deep down, to bet on human beings’ capacity to establish, by themselves, coexistencepacts which do not make collective survival impossible. It means to bet that human beings whenleft to their own devices will not enter a war of all against all.A philosopher called Hobbes did not bet on democracy because he thought that when left to theirown devices, the human beings would destroy one another, because each one would permanentlyfight the others to satisfy their own selfish interests. Taken to the limit, this would make humancoexistence and their survival in society impossible. But many people today, who callthemselves democrats, as it is not politically correct to be called something else, still think likeHobbes. The States are, to some extent, hobbesian; they organize themselves to impose to thesocieties a certain order standard to “pacify” the human beings and prevent them from fightingcontinuously and destroying one another. 12
  13. 13. The ones who believe in the participative democracy, on the contrary, think that order standardcan sprout form the free interaction of human beings. Thus, those who bet on democracy also beton human society’s capacity to generate order spontaneously from cooperation.In other words: those who bet on community development, bet on democracy. This does notmean, obviously, that those who bet on democracy necessarily bet on community development,but it means that those who do not bet on democracy cannot bet on community development.To win we have to betThere is only one way to foster community development: to invest in the social capital, but if thesocial capital is spontaneously produced, why is it necessary to invest in it? It is a good question,isn’t it? For this good question we also have a good answer. The social capital is only producedspontaneously under certain “environmental” conditions. If we organize the people hierarchicallyas in a pyramid, and if we forbid their democratic participation, so the social capital stops beingspontaneously produced, better saying, it stops being produced in the necessary quantity andquality to build a well developed community. Why? Because, under these circumstances, thecooperation cannot increase and reproduce socially.If we organize a society as, for example, a military order, the production of social capital goesdown to near zero.And if we make it impossible for people to get together in cooperation to decide their owncollective destiny and act accordingly to decide on a way towards the future they want toachieve, the social capital will not be produced and reproduced in society in the necessaryquantity and quality to foster human and social sustainable development of that community.In the same way the social capital will not be produced and reproduced in the necessary quantityand quality to foster community development if we draw and apply centralized, assistencialistand clientelist policies and programsWhen we practice such things – hierarchy, autocracy, centralization, assistencialism andclientelism – we are, merely, creating social environments in which the social capital cannotflourish, accumulate and expand as we are making it impossible the expansion of socialcooperation. From the point of view adopted here – the point of view of the communitydevelopment – we are creating anti-human environments.But, one thing is for sure: if we do not create such environments – lethal for the social capital –and, on the contrary, foster the existence of social networks and democratic-participativeprocesses, it is a done deal: the social capital will flourish, accumulate and expand. The more wedo this, the more networks and democratic-participative processes are created, the more socialcapital there will be, and the more community development there will be, too. 13
  14. 14. Therefore, it is necessary to really invest in the social capital, but what does it mean to invest inthe social capital? It means to invest in networks, in local democracy, that is, it means todeconstruct the pyramidal organization models and the centralizing decision making processes.This investment has to be put in practice and not only talked about. There is no use in makingpolitical speeches against the hierarchies and against the lack of democratic participation; there isalso no use in blaming the centralizing political agents, who foster assistencialists and clientelistsprograms. It is as if a stock market investor, instead of buying shares of a certain company,would like to get profit only by praising this certain company and accusing the others. If theinvestor wants to earn profits he has to take risks. To invest in the social capital is the samething; we have to bet on that society, on that community. We have to believe that by providingthe horizontal connection between people and groups, increasing the number of ways betweenthese knots, something will happen to trigger the production and the reproduction of the socialcapital. We have to believe that by opening new spaces for citizen participation, building newparticipative “institutionalities” something will happen to foster the increase of social capital inthat society.The development is nourished by peaceThere is still another way to destroy the social capital or prevent its generation: the war; any kindof war; cold or hot war; and also politics practiced in a warlike way.If we intervene in any community and start dividing them between who is in favor and who isagainst a certain proposal or a certain organization and deal with everything from the point ofview of this division, separating people into friends and enemies, the social capital will havedifficulty to reproduce there.Those who make politics as if they were in a war and search for the destruction of somebody andtreat them as enemies just because they are not on your side or under your influence areexterminators of the social capital. Many times the government and the political parties behavethis way; and when they act like that they behave as exterminators of the social capital; whenthey act like this, they cannot be agents of the community development.Why? Because when they act like that, they increase people’s suspicion of one another instead ofencouraging them to cooperate with each other. By establishing in the societies an adverse andanti-human environment such agents make the spontaneous production of social capitalimpossible.Social Capital is a precious asset but it is like a delicate flower that needs special conditions toflourish; in a war environment this flower will perish, wither and die. Social capital needs peace;peace is the nourishment for human and social sustainable development. 14
  15. 15. Chapter 2Overcoming myths and prejudices to foster local developmentIn order to foster the community development from inside the community it is necessary toovercome some myths and prejudices that are still present in many people’s heads – from peoplein the government and technicians from government and non-government agencies, peoplestudying the development, business people, journalists and leaderships in the society.Unless we prevent our minds from being contaminated by these myths and prejudices, we willnot reach enough confidence to become development agents.Let’s examine ten myths with one or more corresponding prejudices. In order to last and spread,the old political culture needs to reinforce some of these myths. This is only possible becausesome myths fit perfectly in some prejudices that have impregnated the people through theirfamilies, school, religion and, sometimes, through the community itself.The first myth is that only someone from outside can solve the problems of a community.The second myth regards technical competence.The third myth states that a poor community has no resources.The fourth myth is that a lot of money is necessary in order to foster development.The fifth is that development necessarily means economic growth.The sixth myth is that fostering development of a community doesn’t mean much if the countryis not growing as a whole.The seventh myth is that the place is too small, lacking importance, and therefore would needregional development.The eighth myth is that those in the vanguard pull those that are behind.The ninth myth is that social development is for the poor, and only after improving their incomewill they be able to dedicate themselves to what really counts: economic development. 15
  16. 16. The tenth myth is that development can only be induced by the State and produced by themarket.Let us now examine each of these myths more deeply.No one is a prophet in his own countryThe first myth is that only someone from the outside will be able to solve the problems of acommunity. It goes with the preconception that says that people within the community – same asus – do not have the skills or competence to solve problems and to take chances. This is theprejudgement that no one is a prophet in his own country.The problem is that this preconception is present in every less developed community. The peoplesay over and over again the same things: “we are weak, we need help but no one comes to helpus, we have no resources to do anything”.Those that say such things cannot see their own human potential and the social potential of thecommunity they live in.The fact of not being able to see one’s own potential – human and social– is the first sign of poverty or insufficient development.However, every human being has skills and competences to solve their problems and seize theopportunities in their own way. The issue is the development of such potential. As a matter offact, what we call development is exactly the development of this potential which is alwayspresent, in general dormant, as resources to be developed.Thus, fostering the development is to make these potentials dynamic.Not being able to see their own wealth, the people tend to promptly look outside and think thatonly an outsider, that is, a person who is different from them, can be able and capable of solvingtheir problems.Poor people don’t know anythingThe second myth is about the technical competence. It goes with the preconception that if thepoor are poor, it is because they don’t know anything. Thus, the poor dwellers of a communityimagine they don’t know enough to foster their own development and think that they need thehelp of a specialist – the person who knows how to do things. Faced with this technicalknowledge, the people tend to think their opinion isn’t worth much.There is a serious problem regarding a mix up between knowledge and opinion. Of course wewill always need people with technical knowledge to do a lot of things. Some of these peoplelive in the community, others don’t. We must consult them in several cases: to build a bridge, forexample, we may need an engineer that lives in another area, but to build a wooden house wemay count on practical knowledge of a local carpenter. 16
  17. 17. This technical knowledge – useful in several areas – isn’t worth much more than our ownopinion on which ways the development of our community should take. The opinion cannot losevalue before knowledge. When this happens, we are not exercising democracy.However, many specialists imagine their knowledge entitles them to say which way acommunity should go or what it should do and how it should go. As they are competent in aspecifc area of study or in a determined activity, they believe they are more competent thanothers in everything. That is where the technical competence myth stems from.What is worse is that in general the modest people from a community believe in this mythbecause they let themselves be carried away by the preconception that for being poor, they don’tknow anything. They value more the word of a doctor than that of the community leader,because maybe he/she is semiliterate and lives in a faraway rural area. Well, the doctor may bean expert in medicine, but this doesn’t qualify him to know the development needs andpotentialities better than the community leader.This example shows what usually happens. It is not by chance that many doctors in small townsend up becoming mayors.Another problem is that the myth of the technical knowledge ignores not only the public opinion,but also heritage, the practical and reflexive skills and competences of the populations.Sometimes there is a vast wisdom accumulated in every community that cannot be disregardedby technical knowledge.Deprived of everything, including visionThe third myth is that a poor community lacks resources. It is related to the previous myth.This myth stems from the failure to perceive the several resources any community possesses.Life on Earth took millions of years to get to Homo sapiens but, in general, we do not realize thewealth that was built by a community. Some people, for instance, consider that cattle is morevaluable than people; hence, if a community has several people with different skills,competences and gifts forming a rich, diversified, anthrop social group, which for some meansvery little, others still, think that too many people pose a problem and thus they fail to see that itmay bring the solution. Singapore lacks natural resources, but its myriads of qualified peopleform this human capital that is an invaluable resource driving their economic development as itis happening, for example, to the production of software.Every community has some hidden treasures to be discovered, but people often believe it isnecessary to travel to faraway places to find this treasure that is right there underneath their feet.Some - blind by the lack of vision - believe they had better try to ‘attack’ the Union, for that iswhere they think the money is, supposedly bringing solution to all kinds of problems. 17
  18. 18. Besides people - the biggest treasure – every community has natural tourist attractions in theirwaters, mountains or forests. Many of them also have gems and semi-precious stones, or are richin energy sources such as waterfalls, wind or sun light.Community is an asset by itself with its unique, distinct configuration which represents a stablehuman collective that shares the same territory, and also represents a tremendous potential. Thetraditions, parties, handcrafts, the singular way problems are handled, the standard of living andsocialization – everything together makes up the assets which are usually disregarded bydevelopment technicians and also by the people in the community itself.Well, all these things are resources that impels development. There is no community so poor thatdoes not possess such assets. If there is, we should recommend that people leave the area sinceno human being and no community deserves to live in a place deprived of resources - staying ina place like this means to be condemned to living with no chances to develop.Failing to detect such resources is a poverty symptom as it is not the lack of resources thatcharacterizes poverty in a community, but the failure to discover and use its resources.In general we do not see the resources we have because we think resource means money. But ifwe have injected money in a community that did not have human, social or environmentalresources, this money, regardless of how much it would be, would not foster development.We have several examples of poor communities that have received large amounts of financialresources and despite all this help continued to be poor, sometimes even poorer than before. Themoney was just spent, usually unwisely, and then when it was over, it was all over – nothingproductive was generated by that money (financial capital), since it was not invested in thepermanent qualifications of people (human capital) nor in the environment favourable todevelopment (social capital).Development is for the rich or to make you richThe fourth myth is that in order to foster development we need a lot of financial resources. In away this has to do with the above.It is worth mentioning an additional aspect of this myth that has to do with the preconception thatdevelopment is for the rich. It is odd, but many times we invert concepts. We imagine that tofoster development we need a lot of money when, instead, we should be thinking that the money(the result of economic growth) should come as a consequence and not as an agent fordevelopment. We will come back to this point.On the contrary, the wealth that must be achieved with development, as we have seen, does notmean only money. If the money is not used to increase the people’s and communities’ skills todeal with their own problems and to grasp the opportunities, than it is not an input fordevelopment. 18
  19. 19. Contrary to what it is believed, we can always foster development, even with little financialresources. Any community, not matter how poor it might be, can teach their youth that droppedout of school to read and write, bring down children school failure, improve the townenvironment , care for the streets and roads, build flowerbeds and plant flowers in the squares,comfort the sick and protect the people at risk and with special needs.If each one took care of their own garden and the façade of their houses, the impact in the self-esteem of the community would be fantastic. This would be a formidable push for thecommunity development.In order to reach all this, no one needs to be rich and by doing all this, no one will necessarily getany richer (moneywise), but one will be developing himself both individually and collectively –which means living a better life.Development means growthThe fifth myth is that economic growth necessarily means development. This is maybe the mostcrystallized myth, especially for those whose job is to foster development.If growth automatically meant development, Brazil would be one of the most developedcountries in the world because we have been growth champions. And at the end of our gloriousrecord growing period (from 1850 to 1980, when we became the eighth economy in the world,measured by the GDP), we were also champions in another area: difference, gap, distance, abyssbetween economic growth and social development.One says, in general, that this happened because we have grown concentrating income ratherthan distributing it. But the only place where the income can easily be distributed is duringpolitical campaigns, but in real life it is not possible to distribute income (one of the pillars ofdevelopment), while wealth, knowledge and power (other important factors fosteringdevelopment) remain concentrated in the hands of a few. It is the case of Brazil and of severalother countries.Even if we wanted to distribute income, literally, physically, through regular donations to thepoor, sooner or later the income would go back to being concentrated in few hands. That isbecause some – with more access to credit than others to buy a productive assets, moreknowledgeable and empowered – would use such income to generate more income, while otherswould only spend what they received and would stay the same, becoming an eternal passivebeneficiary of the income distribution assistance programs. This is will be the case if there is nosimultaneous investment in human and social capitals in order to distribute, besides money,know how and power respectively.Economic growth is one thing; economic development another. We can, for example, have anincrease in the GDP (indicating an economic growth) and on the other hand, not have moreproductive assets, more economic diversity, not having, thus, social economic growth as a whole(indicating economic development). 19
  20. 20. Besides that, development cannot be seen as economic development only as it unfolds otherfields: social, cultural, environmental and territorial, political-institutional and scientific-technological. Development is a complex issue, a class of global social change that encompassesall those dimensions. The problem is that we have let our conscience be overcome wtih the ideathat one of these dimensions would be the magic wand bringing all others to action, believing theeconomic development would be the key that would define the behaviour of all other factors –human, social and environmental. Even more serious than that, we didn’t even think of economicdevelopment, but of pure and simple GDP growth.The result is: we have gotten ourselves in a difficult problem to solve. In a country like Brazil,the GDP can grow and the income distribution inequalities remain (to see that you just have toobserve the behaviour of Gini Index, which has measured the income distribution inequality inthe last thirty years). Moreover, there are also other sorts of inequality such as access to publicservices and benefits as well as to credit, knowledge and power.The country’s economic growth is the solution to everythingThe sixth myth is that fostering development of a community doesn’t mean much if the countrydoes not develop itself as a whole. Obviously, this vision couldn’t be right. The country maygrow and many communities will not develop. This has, in fact, happened many times.But we need to understand that this is the State-Nation point of view (abstract) and not thecommunity development point of view (concrete). This is also the point of view of those worriedabout the national GDP and that are confusing such economic growth with development.For those who are worried about the development of a community, the economic growth itself isnot enough. It can happen that local GDP grows with no growth consequences in the community.A large company may, for instance, set up business in the region, employing all the availableman-power and the community will still fail to develop.It may happen that the economically active population of the place is only employed for lowerqualified posts and therefore are paid with very low salaries by the company, which manages joboffers and establishes or regulates the price to be paid to the workforce - within certain limits(adopting the minimum wage as a base-salary, for instance). Even if the posts are qualified andthe salaries considered fair, it does not mean that the community will manage to develop itself.That is because even if the economic development itself needs among other things, diversity inbusinesses, goods circulation (including currency) and innovation, not to mention the otherdimensions of development such as human development, social development and sustainabledevelopment – in ecological terms. The economic development may occur (measured by theGDP) and the development of the community be held back in one or more of the otherdimensions. There are several examples to support this view.But the most harmful aspect of this myth is to pass on the idea that doing something locally ispointless. That everything is decided at national level and so, little peripheral places, with no 20
  21. 21. significant cash or merchandize that flows from the globalised world have no autonomy tochange their quality of life. This would depend basically on alterations in the greatmacroeconomic variables. Those that spread such ideas should consider the autonomy of theStates in face of the globalization process. If they reflected on this, they would see that a hugecountry such as Brazil, geographically speaking, is a small community when compared to the bigfinancial and industrial centres, which does mean it has all that autonomy either.In fact, Brazil is responsible for less than 1% of the world total GDP (around US$ 493 billion in2003 at an exchange rate of R$3.07 to the dollar). Despite all this obsession and outcryconcerning growth, we fell from the 8th to the 15th position in the GDP world rank. As far asGDP per capita (average) is concerned, our position is the 78th (behind countries such asArgentina, Jamaica, Lebanon, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Barbados – just to point afew). Our per capita income (of US$ 2,789 in 2003) is more than 13 times smaller than that ofthe USA (of some US$ 37,312)On the other hand, there are places in the world, subnational or plurinational communities, whichare much more relevant to the world economy than to the countries where they are located.What is behind this myth is a state-centred ideology. All reasons that justify this ideology areextra-economic. In general they are political, legal and normative and are related to an obsoletesovereignty idea.All that counts is the large scaleThe seventh myth is that ‘the place’ is too small and it does not have a large scale and thedevelopment has to be regional.This is a very old myth. The ecstasy of grandness, the fascination for quantity, the obsession forgreat numbers – all this has recurrently echoed ever since the first palace-temple-towns werebuilt (i.e. since the State was created) six thousand years ago. The idea that only what is great iswhat really matters, leads to the Guilgamech’s saga, who, unable to achieve immortality, goesback to Uruk, his place of birth in the old Sumeria, and dedicates himself to build colossalmonuments that were destined to his immortality and failed in his expedition to surpass humancondition.The builders of such astonishingly large buildings from the fascist period – with huge portalsmaking us feel even smaller – gave expression to this myth. This state architecture obviouslymissed human scale.But very few people see that just as there is a human scale there is also a social scale, and thatthis large-scale is many times anti-social and thus makes it more difficult to meet, exchange,contact, and coexist, instead of making it easier.From this social scale point of view we need, however, to revisit our ideas of ‘big’ and ‘small’. 21
  22. 22. Many people imagine that ‘the place’ is necessarily “the small” in terms of geography orpopulation. They think local development means municipal development – of small towns. Andthen they conclude this couldn’t work very well because in a small municipality the market is notlarge enough to sustain an economic development: the number of producers and consumers willnecessarily be small, the trading sectors will be very restricted, and the circulation of goods (andmoney) will be limited, generating insufficient surplus and savings for new investments. So,based on this point of view, there is no point in keeping insisting on this scale. It is necessary toincrease the scale, going from local to regional.There is here the idea that the development is limited to economic development. This is the firstmix up. And there are two others. The second is to think that the place is small in terms ofterritory or number of inhabitants. The place, however, is a world that has become small due tothe close weave of the social fabric. From the sustainable human and social development point ofview, the more social networks you have, the smaller the world becomes.The third mix up is to think that the place is a synonym to municipality. The place can be aregion that comprises several municipalities. The borders of the place are established by thereach of a development process. That’s why it is said that a place can only be defined at the end– it depends on the “size” of the project community that it was able to involve.Nevertheless, even if the place considered for a certain development process coincides with thelimits of a small suburban municipality, the work to foster local development cannot be replacedby traditional projects of regional development. The reason is that, as we have seen so manytimes, when we plan regional development, even when it involves regional leaderships, it meansthat many local leaders will not participate. In a region composed by ten to twentymunicipalities, for example, the meetings will take place in one of these municipalities thuspreventing the participation of important leaderships. How can Dona Maria, an important leaderin her community who lives in a rural area travel to the town that is hosting the meeting? Howcan a dozen of Donas Marias do it regularly? Those who imagine regional development asopposed to local development (considering the place as a small municipality) are actuallythinking only or mainly in the economic dimension of development. If we think like this, theproblems raised here do not exist because the regional leaderships that must be gathered are, ingeneral, the political and business leaders in the places that comprise the region. In this case,everything turns out easier. These people, one can assume, must have enough resources tocommute within their region.What these people think is that the result of such work to foster economic growth in the regionwill benefit human and social development of every place that comprises the region. And then,Dona Maria will be able to reach her goal and increase her family income and care for herchildren’s health and education.But we know real life is different. The results of economic growth are not translated into betterliving conditions for the population who live in small places in the region and even less inimprovements in their social conditions. Besides that, the political and business leaderships thatgather for the development of the region will think and execute processes that tend to benefittheir own ambitions and their own businesses if they are not moving in tandem with the sociallocal leaderships where they live. 22
  23. 23. This will take us straight to the next myth.The eighth myth is that those in the vanguard pull those that are behind.The eighth myth is that the ones at the front pull those that are behind. According to this myth, ifwe are able to energise certain key-sectors of the economy (the vanguard), all other economicsectors will end up being energised and so we will have an improvement in the social conditionsas a consequence.Thus, it would be a wise move to invest and work initially or preferably only in those sectorscapable of pulling all the others. For instance, if we want to foster the development of a smallmunicipality we will waste time and keep holding meetings with the community leaders. Weshould, then, start by gathering those entrepreneurships that have the potential to start newbusinesses and make them prosper. If this minority progresses, it will have the wand to foster thedevelopment in the municipality.Practice doesn’t follow theory, though. What happens is that, if, let’s say, 20 entrepreneurs in aplace with 20 thousand inhabitants manage to grow focusing only on their own success, they willwish to progress even further. The well-succeeded will often move to a bigger town or to thestate capital and many times won’t even deposit their earnings in a local bank branch.It is pointless to complain about this business dynamics. It follows the logic of the market – acompetitive logic based on a rational search performed by each one to optimize the results. It islittle use trying to appeal to the social consciousness of entrepreneurs. The most you will get outof it is to have some of them sparing some money for a social assistance project, in generalmoved by marketing reasons.In our example, 20 economically well-succeeded people do not ‘pull’ the other 19,980inhabitants that comprise the population of the place for intraeconomic reasons or due to theextent of their corporate social responsibility through corporate programs of social assistance.But even if we were able to involve a bigger part of the population, in corporate activities – forexample 200 people – even so it wouldn’t be enough to foster the development of the place,because there is no way the market can foster this development alone.Thus, induction development strategies must focus on the connections between economic andsocial. Any sustainable economic activity that really represents economic development and notjust growth expresses socio-productive connections. It is as if the market were a manifestation ofa certain social dynamic which expresses itself in the economic domain as a corporate activityrelated to production, trade, credit or service.This matter has been strongly debated recently in view of the proposal to form the LocalProductive Arrangements. They are socio-productive systems and part of an excellent strategy toinduce local development.However, to form real socio-productive systems, it seems that whatever the circumstance is theremust be an investment in social capital and this work can neither involve just the businesspeople, nor start from the gathering of individuals’ interests. 23
  24. 24. Social Development is for the poorThe ninth myth is that social development is for the poor and only when they increase theirincome will they be able to dedicate for real to what really matters: economic development.This myth reveals, of course, a prejudice against the so called ‘poor’. It also reveals amisconception in the relationship between the economic and social. In general, those who thinkthat way mixes up social investment (i.e. investment in social capital) with social assistance andsocial development promotion strategy for social protection programs.It is as if the investment strategies in social capital were a kind of ‘kindergarten’ or a ‘literacyprogram for development’ (applicable to those who still couldn’t gather the necessary conditionsfor self-emancipation – i.e. the poor little ones). Only those who have already overcome thisphase (and can have autonomy to stand on their own feet in the economic world) would be readyto participate in development programs.However, there will be development without resonance, correspondence, congruence andarticulation between social and economic activities. If the local economy is not connected to thelocal social life, it is possible that there will be economic growth pulled by the more dynamicsectors, but there will not be development, not even economic development.So far economists don’t seem to have understood that markets do not come from Mars, but aresocially built here in this planet and their construction is mediated by the same institutions whichregulate the collective life in all its dimensions. Although Karl Polanyi has already written 60years ago in the famous book “The Great Transformation” that “markets are sustainable onlywhen connected to social and political institutions”, how can we make them understand?Society does not existThe tenth myth is that the development can be induced only by the State itself and produced onlyby the market. It is as if the civil society did not exist and that all social reality could beunderstood by the interaction between the two spheres: the State and the market.This myth is present, as mentioned above, in the pillars of the orthodox economy.It is not possible, however, to explain how the contemporary societies work if we do not considerthree – and not only two – types of agency: the State, the market and the civil society (orcommunity). People do or do not do things for society’s reasons and not only to obey the rules ofthe State, or under the influx of the market logic. People cooperate freely for the simple pleasurein the emotion of cooperating and not always aiming at the advantage to be gained or thesatisfaction of a selfish interest. People get pleasure from being together with other people in acommunity and this, no matter how much they try, economists cannot explain.Well, civil society has a strategic role in terms of development, an irreplaceable role due to itscapacity to produce and reproduce cooperation in large scale, i.e. the social capital. 24
  25. 25. CHAPTER 3The pillars of local developmentWhen talking about development, people usually think that it is a process to increase theeconomic prosperity of a society – in general of a country – that when it develops itself it wouldbecome poorer or less wealthier. Thus, they conclude that development has to do with theeconomic activity as a whole ant that it would generate more wealth.It’s ok, but soon after they conclude that to foster development, it is necessary to invest in factorssuch as: public infrastructure to support productive enterprises; credit and special financing lines;fiscal incentives; workforce qualification; de-bureaucratization and managerial capacity; legalenvironment and governance, proposition and approval of new laws and justice enforcementwhich would facilitate business activity, securing investors rights and diminish the cost of thetransactions; monetary and fiscal stability; sufficient amount of international reserves andeconomic policy to stimulate growth (especially in terms of exchange rate and interests);commercialization systems and trading agreements which protect the internal market andproducts and make it possible to put such products in international markets with competitiveadvantages; customs and sanitary regulations that facilitate import and export, etc., - and all thatto be, preferably, paid with a substantial contribution of the public funds. The state role as aninvestor and a facilitator is to make it possible for the private capital to generate wealth, that is, tobring productive prosperity.OK, all right! – except for one reason. One does not think that fostering development is toincrease people’s ability so that they can overcome problems and enjoy opportunities exercisingtheir entrepreneurial qualities; the same way that, one hardly thinks it is necessary to build socialenvironments that are favorable to the booming of the business, i.e. to articulate and stimulatenetworks which encourage people to, individually and collectively, exercise their creativitygenerating new solutions.Well, if people do not develop their skills and competences and if societies do not empower theirmembers so that they can rely on themselves and on their peers, or to have the courage to risk andfeel safe to innovate, how is it possible to have development? If people and society do notdevelop themselves, what kind of development is it?Besides that, in general, everything is thought of in terms of the State-nation, a unit that wouldhave the capacity to adopt effective measures to foster development (though in the currentglobalized world its macro-economic autonomy has been greatly reduced). People do not thinkthis way, they do not think in the development of communities where people really live, first ofall because, as previously said, the place is looked upon as the small in territory and population 25
  26. 26. terms, the peripheral in geo-economic terms, and the irrelevant in economic-quantitative terms(i.e., in terms of the fraction of the GDP which could be generated there).Well, if we think that the development depends on several other factors besides income (financialcapital) and wealth (corporate or productive capital, let’s call it this way) – i.e., on extra-economic factors (such as the human capital, the social capital and the natural capital) – thus,such recipe for development, isolated applied, cannot work out. It can even stimulate growth, butit won’t be able to keep such growth at a high rate for long enough to overflow society, increasingpeople’s qualifications, skills and competences and strengthening an environment that isfavorable to development.The formation of project communitiesThe dynamism that generates that economic, systemic prosperity – which can be construed aseconomic development (and not only GDP growth) – is a social phenomenon and not only aneconomic one. An active and competitive market depends on a society that is able to support andto supply, at a low cost, the social capital necessary for the economic activities to grow, maintainand expand, energizing life of the society as a whole and not only of part of the business people.That is why one says that competitive markets produce more in cooperative societies; and thatsystemic competitiveness depends on systemic cooperation. The word systemic refers here to thesocial system and not to any other subsystem, as that established by the group of economicagents, of business processes and entities; i.e., what is called market.The system in question is comprised of social networks existing in each society and thesenetworks produce the social capital, in the absence of which, the process of (social) change wecall development cannot occur, better saying, these networks are the social capital indispensablefor the formation of environments that are favorable to development.In order to have such networks it is necessary that project communities be formed; they arepeople and organizations which share a common objective – no matter which one, except that ithas to be of public nature.Thus the objective of the local development is the formation of project communities; it is not areturn to the past, thinking it would be possible, on the present days, to reestablish thosetraditional communities, called “inherited communities”. It is the construction of newcommunities from a collective dream, the common exercise of a certain collectivity to project adesired common future and to re-interpret their past.These new project communities are sprouting everywhere with the help of new social resistanceand identity generation movements dedicated to new themes such as environment, human rightsand citizenship, feminism, ecumenism, pacifism, strengthening civil society and fosteringvoluntary work; but they are sprouting especially from the innovative experimentalism underdevelopment in the last years as a consequence of the social networks of the participative 26
  27. 27. democracy and the induction to sustainable and integrated development, the social-productivesystems and alternative and solidary social-economy rehearsed in global scale.That is why it is possible to say that there is a movement of return to the place and a movement ofcommunity re-flourishing following, although still invisibly, the globalization process currentlytaking place. I have been calling this movement localization (in the “strong” sense of theconcept).In a certain way we can affirm that the networks which constitute the social capital are always theresult of the localization; the social capital is, in a certain way, local. It always refers to therestricted range where people decided to collectively bet on a common future.We will get back to this later.Improving the conditions of life and social coexistenceIt is getting kind of boring to keep repeating the same speech: the objective of the development isto improve people’s life conditions (or quality). OK. This is for sure an objective of thedevelopment, but cannot be the only one if we are to face Maturana who says that the humanbeing is a prisoner of an inescapable duality. We human beings are individuals (and we live ourquotidian in a continuous becoming of nontransferable individual experiences) and, at the sametime, we are social beings (we live our quotidian in a continuous juxtaposition with the beings ofother human beings).It is important to improve life conditions, but it points out at only one of these two sides of thehuman being. To improve life conditions is to increase the human capital. The human capital isimportant, very important, but it is not everything.The human societies are not simple gathering of individuals. The phenomena that occur in society– and which characterize what we can call social system – cannot be obtained from the sum ofwhat happens to its members. There is a social function which depends on the networks that stemfrom the relations among such members (the individuals). The identity card of a society is themap of these social networks. These networks are the social capital, which is somethingcompletely different from human capital.People in general have difficulty understanding such difference. As societies are comprised ofindividuals, people tend to understand human capital and social capital as equivalent expressions,but they are not; and to perceive such difference is fundamental to understand a new conceptionof development and a new induction strategy based on the investment in the social capital.In the classes I teach and in the speeches I make I have tried to show the difference betweenhuman capital and social capital by means of the following thought experience: let’s suppose thata family with an extremely high human capital, for example the family of the BruneiSultan,everybody in this family undoubtedly show a high human capital, may be one of thehighest, if not the highest in the world. They have their personal doctor to follow them when they 27
  28. 28. travel, they have an excellent nutritional profile, they studied in the best schools and they couldspecialize in the world centers of excellence, not to mention the family income.Well, let’s then imagine two thousand families of the Brunei Sultan, and let’s put these twothousand families in one territory, creating a new society.Question: Will the level of the social capital (or of the social development) of this newcommunity be as high as the level of the human capital (or of the human development) of thefamilies that belong to the community? Yes or no?If we answer yes, then we do not need the concept of social capital for anything; but if we,suddenly realize and suspect that the new imaginary “community” thus formed could not becomesomething good, then it is a sign that we are getting close to the understanding of the differencebetween human capital and social capital.If we answer yes, we can walk hand in hand with the orthodox economists. We can say that thecollective behavior can derive from the behavior of the individuals, i.e., we think that thehypothesis of the social capital is not necessary to explain the social behavior.If we answer no, and would like to justify our answer, then the hypothesis of the social capitalwill be a necessary hypothesis. In other words, the social development depends on something thathappens among the individuals, the groups and the organizations which exist in a society; itdepends on the standards of social coexistence.If the individuals with an extremely high human capital do not understand each other, the level ofsocial development can not be extremely high, not even high; it will probably be low, extremelylow. If our imaginary society is a society that is predominantly competitive, then it will have a lotof difficulty to ascend to acceptable levels of governance and economic prosperity; and it will noteven be able to offer a base capable of supporting a competitive market.There are real societies which despite having a high level of human development (and of humancapital) present low levels of social development (and of social capital); the Eastern countries forexample, or Cuba to give another example.Well, if the social capital is low, even if the human capital is high, it will be difficult to fosterdevelopment. There is no known example in the world of a society with low level of social capitalwhich became well known for presenting a high level of global or integral development, not eveneconomic development.It is the cooperative relations among individuals – able to generate coexistence standards that canbe reproduced – which produce social capital.On the other hand, it is such coexistence standards which make us enjoy or not living in acommunity. Nobody can feel comfortable in a community where there is no pleasure in theexchanges with their peers. No place can be considered developed if we are afraid to go for awalk on the streets with our kids after dinner. Even if our family is educated, healthy, well fed 28
  29. 29. and has an excellent level of income, imagine what it would be like to live in a bunker, or what issimpler and more common, if they lived in a horrible place where they do not talk, like or trusteach other.Thus, the final purpose of fostering development can not only be, as it has been repeatedly said ,to improve the people’s quality of life but their quality of life and of social coexistence. It isunderstood that project communities are truly human worlds where it can occur not only thegrowth of the human capital (with the improvement of the levels of education, health, income,etc.) but also the growth of the social capital (with the improvement of the levels of cooperation).That’s why we said, in the previous section, that the objective of the local development is theformation of project communities.Creating new placesWhen we talk about fostering the local development many people think that it means opening themap, choosing a geographical area and starting plans to act there, in that previously definedregion.When we do this, we choose a place in geographical terms but not a place in terms of socialdevelopment; and as we know, all development is social; therefore, development is a conceptwhich applies to human societies and not to portions of physical territory or any other aspects.Nobody can guess beforehand what will be the size and the configuration of a process of localdevelopment. Obviously, we always have to start from a community, but with the understandingthat the place is not a starting point, but that, above all else, it is an arriving point.To foster the local development is to cause the localization process (in the “strong” sense of thisconcept). This means that what we call place is not the result of an arbitrary geographicaldefinition done on a map, but, on the contrary, it is a social territoriality formed by what iscomprised in a certain development process; in other words, the place is only completely definedin the end. Therefore, it is not the case of finding or defining an existing place to act on, butcreating a (new) place.The local development process creates new places in social terms; in social terms this processgives shape to territorialities interwoven with specific configurations of social networks. Theterritory thus shaped is always a social-territory.Many times we start working from a municipality and later on we find out that the borders of themunicipality do not coincide with the demands and the potentials of the development processbeing installed, sometimes we face evidences that a project community was formed in aneighborhood or in a district but could not start in other places. Sometimes, on the other hand, weare surprised by the fact that the potentials and callings found refer to a whole micro basin thatencompasses several municipalities. In the first case, the place created by the developmentprocess is not the municipality but the neighborhood (or district); in the second case, the newshaped place is not the municipality but a group of municipalities and pieces of municipalities. 29
  30. 30. In the local development we may know where the process starts, but we may not know where itfinishes, it all depends on the network map that is being woven.View of the future and view of the pastIt is common in local development induction processes to start the work with the diagnosis of thepotential, in general, of the economic potential of the region in focus. However, experience hasshown that this is not a good way.Experience has shown that exercises of viewing the future and viewing the past should precedethe local participative diagnosis. First, because identifying assets or surveying existing potentials,as well as needs, problems and obstacles to the development depend on the observer’s position,perspective and concept of oneself, especially if this observer is collective.A collectivity which has not foreseen a new future will tend to see in its diagnosis of the realitywhat is appointed by the traditional options, for example, a small municipality in the countrysidewill tend to see, only and specially, the latent potentials connected to agriculture or cattle raising,ignoring other hidden “treasures” because the collectivity lacks a vision which “pulls” the presentor prevents the present from repeating the past; and it will tend to see as needs which requireexternal resources the same needs that could be fulfilled by making the existing human and socialassets more dynamic, but which cannot be identified due to the lack of awareness of their ownpotentials ( the concept of oneself); thus, this collectivity is led to repeat the traditional wayswhere the needs are fulfilled “top-down” or “from the outside” (and this is the past that tends topropagate by inertia throughout all the societies in the world).Secondly, because no community is formed without sharing a common future and withoutretelling (or reinterpreting) their past. The reading that any collectivity does of its past isdeterminant to indicate if the collectivity has reached or not the status of project community. Inother words, the past should be (re)viewed in a certain way to produce the desired future (analternative to the future of repeating the past in the present). In this community we should plantthe seeds of the alternative we would like to see flourish in the future (or using a poetic image,that is where we should implement the “legend” we would like to see become reality).The basic idea is that nobody can get to a (new) present (i.e. a present which is not a repetition ofthe past) without, first, passing through the future. If we would like to alter something in thepresent, we have to go on a round trip to the future. However, it is not enough to imagine anddesire a better future to be able to bring it to the present by means of concrete actions. It is alsonecessary to modify the past. It does not mean to invent a lie about the past; but it means that ifthe view of the past is not changed, the old past, which is in people’s head, will stay permanentlyinfluencing their behavior. Because the old past – which is called tradition – is something much,much more powerful than we think.That’s why it is said that – to draw the road map to the desired future – it is necessary, contrary towhat is believed, to plan the past and to tell the history of the future. In general people do theopposite: they want to tell the history of the past and plan the future. But when telling the history 30
  31. 31. of the past, what is the history told? That history that when announcing a certain view of the past,repeats this past. This will influence, decisively, the planning of the future. If the old past isrepeated, the planned future will be nothing but a continuation with a view of the past.If, on the contrary, we plan the past in light of a new future, imagined without being committed tothe traditional view of the past, we can start to tell a different history of the future. The historyyou tell is the life you build. If you start to tell a different history, something different willhappen. In order to draw the road map to a different future, it is necessary to imagine that thisfuture already exists and that it is just a preview; it means to create a new future.The exercise of viewing the future and viewing the past contributes to the composition of the twomaps: the map of the assets and the map of the needs, which is, together with the gathering of thedata and the calculation of the indicators, what we usually call diagnosis. And these two maps arethe basis for the formulation of a third map, which is the road map to the desired future, i.e., whatis called local development plan. It is this local development plan that gives origin to two priorityagendas: the internal investments agenda (to be implemented by the local community itself, usingtheir own resources, energizing their potentials or the use of their assets) and the externalinvestments agenda (which should be attracted by means of negotiation with external sources).If a community cannot carry out, using its own resources, an agenda of local priorities to exerciseits leading role, there is no possibility of having the social change phenomenon we call localdevelopment, even if such community is awarded loads of resources brought by someone fromthe outside. To use a succinct formula: without local leading role there is no local development.It is not only about economic developmentWhen we say that local development is not only local economic development, and besides that,that local development is not the automatic result of the local economic growth, it does not meanthat we are abandoning the economic perspective, but that on the contrary, we understand that theeconomic dimension of a community development process is always a social-economicdimension.The “formula” found by a community for the generation of income and wealth depends on itssocial configuration, on the “social power” collectively developed by this society, on the way ituses the opportunities (always unique) and on the fulfillment of its needs, in other words, itdepends on its capacity of cooperating to create environments that are favorable to the flourishingand expansion of collective economic initiatives, i.e. it is the role of the stock or the flow of socialcapital.In the local development there is a special emphasis on the social-economic dimension, with apriority on the social construction of markets that do not concentrate (or concentrate little) wealthand income using social-productive systems based on micro or small enterprises and onalternative or solidary social-economy networks. None of these alternatives can grow if there isn’tan environment of systemic cooperation, reason why it is a coherent part of a local developmentprocess contributing to the increase of the social capital. 31
  32. 32. In this process, there is a special emphasis on the role of the micro and small companies, the roleof cooperation in the creation of environments that are favorable to the articulation of social-productive systems and the alternatives of solidary social-economy.Besides that, the local development explicitly takes on its nature of political strategy (and not onlyeconomical). By political we do not mean politics (political party) and not only policy (state), butthe social-political sense of the molecular empowerment of the populations, which happensthrough the social networks and the participative democracy processes rehearsed in new localinstitutions composed of partnerships between the State, the market and the society.Three elements of the traditional politics – which exterminate the social capital – are now moredecisively faced in the new methodologies to induce local development; not only in speech butalso by giving concrete stimulus to the articulation of networks and the exercise of theparticipative democracy processes. These elements are: a) the centralism and the centralization(consequences of the pyramidal organizational standards which “verticalize” the relations,discourage horizontal connections between people, groups and organizations isolating them andleaving them unprotected against powerful individuals, group or party making it impossible forthem to participate and undermining their democratic right of deciding about the things that affecttheir existence); b) the assistencialism (which makes the populations which benefit from itbecome passive and always dependent on ready made resource offering programs.); and c) theclientelism (which substitutes the cooperation that mobilizes and boosts the communities ownresources for the competition for outside resources, which will be granted by a benefactor inexchange for support to keep him – or his group, or his party – in power; and besides that, feedsthe untrustworthiness among people preventing cooperation from expanding and reproducingenough in society so as to support a whole political system which is extremely unfair, whichprivatizes the power and works to prevent its democratization or its spreading in the society bymeans of the molecular empowerment of the populations).Overcoming centralization, assistencialism and clientelism the local development emphasizes thequalification of state agents to manage innovative programs, the construction of new participativeinstitutions, the public political interlocution and, at last, local democracy.Network and democracyThe articulation of community development (intralocal) networks and the formation of organicspaces (not exclusively from the state, but also from partnerships between the State and thesociety) to discuss and implement public policies are, with much more emphasis, the basis forthe implementation of local development processes.As you can see, we are here still giving priority to the investment in social capital as it is apolitical concept (or social and political) and not economic (as the metaphorical expression“social capital” could suggest at first sight). 32
  33. 33. Well, as we know, social capital is always produced by networks (actually, it is a network) andthis production and reproduction, enhanced in the society can only happen when theparticipative-democratic processes are effective.On the other hand, the networks diminish the size of the world, they “localize”, and theygenerate community.Activating the local-global connectionIn the local development process the local-global connection gains a special emphasis, i.e. theparticipation of local experiences in bigger (intralocal) networks, with a micro-regional, state,regional, national and even world range.This stems from the consideration that all local development (human, social and sustainable) canonly be completely defined through its relationships with the global (which depends on itsconnection to the “outside”).The more connected to the “outside” a community is, the more conditions it will have to exportbehavioral standards (programs), through which it will be recognized as a unique anddifferentiated place. The development degree of these programs (which gives the measure of itscapacity to induce behaviors due to its “social power” – supplied by its stock or flow of socialcapital – to generate and reproduce its own standards) starts now to be construed as the degree oflocal development.Taking the side of the cosmopolitan localizationThe local development adopts a specific document as a programmatic referential – the “EarthCharter” – therefore, taking a clear position in the political variables picture in face of the“glocalization”. It is obviously not about taking up a political party position, here, but abouttaking the side in favor of the cosmopolitan localization. It means that to think in only one worldis not – as Wolfgang Sachs wrote – to think in “a project for…[a] global planning, but [in] aregulating idea always present for the local activities. Such cosmopolitan localization would tryto increase the wealth of a place respecting the rights of a multifaceted world; it would honor acertain place as special and at the same time would be aware of the relative importance of allplaces”. (Sachs, Wolfgang (1992) – “One World” in Sachs, W. (edt.) “The DevelopmentDictionary”). For this cosmopolitan localization (which can also be called “glocalization”) thedesired way of globalization does not lead to one (only) global tribe but to a myriad of (localizedunits) global tribes.Actually the “Earth Charter” affirms that “we are, at the same time, citizens of different nationsand of a world where the local and global dimensions are connected”. From the point of view ofglocal sustainability it is maybe the most important political document ever formulated bymankind. 33
  34. 34. Taking the “Earth Charter” as pragmatic referential, the new local development inductionmethodologies extract practical consequences from what could mean just a conceptualalignment. Thus, this alignment has as a consequence the introduction of another step in theparticipative process to implement local development: the collective formulation of the“Community X Charter”.The “Community X Charter” is as if it were the “Earth Charter” itself, but just applicable to therange of a community. It is a declaration of principles, a systematization of a future dream and areview of the past (and of the private patrimony that a community puts on itself and takesthroughout its history) guiding the steps it deems necessary to reach the desired future.In other words, it formalizes a local cooperation pact as a roadmap to build the most developedplace on Earth, i.e., to transform that “community X” into the best place in the world to live andcoexist in. 34
  35. 35. Chapter 4A glocal reference: “The Earth Charter”After 8 years of discussion involving 46 countries in all continents and more than one hundredthousand people going from school children, Eskimos, aborigines, Indians from Brazil andCanada, civil society institutions and big research centers, universities, large companies toreligious groups, the so called “Earth Charter” was approved at UNESCO in Paris, on March 14,2000.The “Earth Charter” represents, perhaps, the most important document ever produced.For the first time a general purpose for humanity is established, what is going to demand a greatdeal of effort from all human beings: to generate a sustainable global society based on respect fornature, universal human rights, economic justice and culture of peace.The Charter points to a planetary ecumene: the Earth, the house of everyone, which shouldtherefore be cared for by everyone as a living being.It proposes to build up a global alliance to take care of the Earth and of each other without takingthe chance of destroying ourselves and destroying life diversity.It focuses on the advent of a global civil society that is creating new opportunities to build ademocratic and humane world.The “Earth Charter” establishes four principles:The first principle is to respect and care for the life community (respecting the Earth in all itsdiversity; taking care of the life community with comprehension, compassion and love; buildingfair democratic societies, participants, sustainable and pacific; and securing Earth bounty andbeauty for present and future generations).The second principle is the ecologic integrity (protecting and restoring the integrity of theecological systems of the Earth, with special focus on the biological diversity and on the naturalprocesses that sustain life; preventing the environmental damage as the best method ofenvironmental protection and to be cautious when knowledge is limited; adopting standards ofproduction, consumption and reproduction that protect the Earth’s regenerating capacities, thehuman rights and the community welfare; and advancing the studies of ecological sustainabilityand fostering the open exchange and broad application of the acquired knowledge). 35
  36. 36. The third principle is social and economic justice (imposing as tasks: to eliminate poverty as anethical, social and environmental drive; to ensure that the economic activities and institutions atall levels foster human development in an equitable and sustainable way; to ensure the equalityof classes as pre-requisite for a sustainable development; to ensure a universal access toeducation, to health assistance and to economic opportunities; and to indiscriminately defendeveryone’s right to a natural and social environment that ensures human dignity, body health andspiritual welfare, paying special attention to the rights of the indigenous people and minorities).The fourth principle is democracy, nonviolence and peace (strengthening the democraticinstitution in all levels and ensuring transparency in rendering accounts in the government term,participation in the decision making and access to justice; integrating the knowledge, values andskills needed for a sustainable way of life into the formal education and life experience; treatingall living beings with respect and consideration; and fostering a culture of tolerance, nonviolenceand peace).The “Earth Charter” invites us to develop and imaginatively apply a vision of a sustainable wayof living both locally and globally, acknowledging that we are at the same time citizens ofdifferent nations and of a world in which local and global dimensions are connected.This connection between the local and the global is the great news about the time we are livingin. It is this connection which guides the local development strategy in a world in process ofglobalization. It is this connection that we call “localization”.The Earth CharterPREAMBLE1| We stand at a critical moment in Earths history, a time when humanity must choose its future.As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds greatperil and great promise.2| To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of culturesand life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny.3| We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature,universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace.4| Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility toone another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.EARTH, OUR HOME5| Humanity is part of a vast evolving universe. Earth, our home, is alive with a uniquecommunity of life. 36
  37. 37. 6| The forces of nature make the fact of being a demanding and uncertain adventure, but Earthhas provided the conditions essential to lifes evolution. The resilience of the community of lifeand the well-being of humanity depend upon preserving a healthy biosphere with all itsecological systems, a rich variety of plants and animals, fertile soils, pure waters, and clean air.7| The global environment with its finite resources is a common concern of all peoples. Theprotection of Earths vitality, diversity, and beauty is a sacred trust.THE GLOBAL SITUATION8| The dominant patterns of production and consumption are causing environmental devastation,the depletion of resources, and a massive extinction of species. Communities are beingundermined.9| The benefits of development are not shared equitably and the gap between rich and poor iswidening. Injustice, poverty, ignorance, and violent conflict are widespread and the cause ofgreat suffering. An unprecedented rise in human population has overburdened ecological andsocial systems. The foundations of global security are threatened.10| These trends are perilous—but not inevitable.THE CHALLENGES AHEAD11| The choice is ours: to form a global partnership to care for Earth and one another or risk thedestruction of ourselves and the diversity of life.12| Fundamental changes are needed in our values, institutions, and ways of living. We mustrealize that when basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more,not having more.13| We have the knowledge and technology to provide for all and to reduce our impacts on theenvironment.14| The emergence of a global civil society is creating new opportunities to build a democraticand humane world.15| Our environmental, economic, political, social, and spiritual challenges are interconnected,and together we can forge inclusive solutions.UNIVERSAL RESPONSIBILITY16| To realize such aspirations, we must decide to live with a sense of universal responsibility,identifying ourselves with the whole Earth community as well as our local communities. 37

×