Development has become the central organizing concept in terms of which the historical movement and direction of social systems are analyzed, evaluated and acted upon. It is now a methodological principle, and analytical matrix for conceiving and interpreting social processes, a regulative idea in terms of which these processes, and the structures they give rise to, are compared, evaluated and given some sense of direction, as well as a praxeological notion for mobilizing and justifying social action in pursuit of policy objectives. As such it is the dominant myth of the current epoch. Although many alternative development theories and programmes emerge to challenge or surpass the weaknesses of their predecessors, such apparent advances obscure the enduring nature of the underlying commonality shared by such differing initiatives and which circumscribe their scope. The demands of the developmental crisis and theory diverge farther and farther from each other such that the current development debate comes to resemble more and more the scholastic debates that marked the transition from mediaeval philosophy to modern thought. The underlying commonality is that the dynamics of the world system as a whole are essentially determined by the movement of capital, namely the valorization and accumulation of capital on an ever-expanding scale. It is this process which lies behind the historical and contemporary development of the modern world-system, and it is this which developmentalism, as the philosophy of that system, expresses and subserves, resulting in unequal and uneven development as well as recurring cycles of expansion and stagnation.
In seeking to "develop" themselves via developmentalist strategies, individual countries collectively promote capital accumulation on a world scale, and hence also reproduce the contradictions inherent in the movement of capital, globally and within each of them. It is because developmentalism refuses or is unable to recognize these fundamental contradictions, which continue to intensify crisis after crisis, that is has reached an impasse. This impasse, in turn, is nothing else but the particular expression of the crisis of the world-system itself. The immobility of the philosophy is conditioned by the contradictions of the global society.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a unique, experimental research work of the Union of International Associations. It is currently published as a searchable online platform with profiles of world problems, action strategies, and human values that are interlinked in novel and innovative ways. These connections are based on a range of relationships such as broader and narrower scope, aggravation, relatedness and more. By concentrating on these links and relationships, the Encyclopedia is uniquely positioned to bring focus to the complex and expansive sphere of global issues and their interconnected nature.
The initial content for the Encyclopedia was seeded from UIA’s Yearbook of International Organizations. UIA’s decades of collected data on the enormous variety of association life provided a broad initial perspective on the myriad problems of humanity. Recognizing that international associations are generally confronting world problems and developing action strategies based on particular values, the initial content was based on the descriptions, aims, titles and profiles of international associations.
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