Crisis management approach to long-term development policy-making
Obstruction of change by crisis and emergency responses
Immediacy orientation of elected bodies
Short-range development strategy
Short-term problem solving
Fire-fighting policy mentality
By definition, a crisis is a short-term problem. It evokes improvised remedies and palliatives. But real solutions call for long-term policies; prevention rather than cure, or cures which facilitate prevention. Ad-hoc policies have then to be seen as underpinnings of an integrated long-term solution strategy. If each crisis becomes an isolated problem to be somehow resolved, then this encourages a fragmented approach. The real danger is that priorities become dominated by problems of the immediate, and the fundamental task of change in the social framework is neglected, perhaps even suspended. When pressures build up for real changes in institutions and values, people are asked to hold their peace so that the immediate crisis can be dealt with. Such appeals for patience and order in the name of smooth functioning can often be clever rationalization of the status quo. Thus a crisis psychology provides succour and respite to forces that resist change.
To be sustainable, policyu changes need to be intrernalized in the local context, requiring a learning and participative approach to development. Responses to crisis are most difficult to implement where they are most needed. In a context of underdevelopment, characterized by extensive unfulfilled basic needs, the capacity to adjust and adapt is limited. The resources are seldom provided to allow for longer term programmes that can entail individual and social learning essential to self-development.