Have the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) been a more successful approach to development than previous approaches? Use examples when explaining your response to this question.
Millennium Development Goals has been a current framework of international development cooperation since 2000 until 2015. It has been globally accepted with all the UN member countries complying with this framework and has been a successful approach towards the human development. However, there has been flaws identified and criticism accompanied in the attainment of MDGs targets. Inequality and environmental degradation are the critical issues and they are often ignored and bypassed. In the face of such criticisms, MDGs are evaluated and compared against the previous development approaches. Various other development approaches have been criticised for their respective ideas in development. Modernization theory has been mainly criticised as it is not always ideal to replicate the development model of the West in the poorer countries. Similarly dependency theory is generally criticised for making the poor countries poorer through the transfer of resources to the richer nations. Neoliberalism approach to development is viewed as too corporate in nature. In light of these serious criticisms of the previous approaches to development, this essay evaluates MDGs if they are any better.
The evaluation of development approaches
The approaches to development are continuously changing as the ideas are critiqued and replaced continuously to achieve desirable change in the society. Therefore, the MDGs reflect how the approaches to development has changed since the conception of modernization theory post World War Two. When development became global concern, wide variety of development therories came into place. Major development approaches such as Modernization theory, Dependency theory and Neo-liberalism theory are discussed in this section in juxtapose with the MDGs. Modernization theory maintains that countries are autonomous units that develop through stages and transform from traditional societies to modern form (Fangjun, 2009). However, Fangjun (2009) argue that modernization theory is too generalized as modernization of the west was made the criterion for modernization worldwide, thus leaving the transformation of many more countries unexplained although China would have remained stagnant without it (Wheeler, 2005). The values and development institutions developed in one country often prove to be dysfunctional in another country. Ogujiuba and Jumare (2012) support this argument by stating that African countries report high levels of growth and GDP per capita and yet possess the inability to tackle problems such as women empowerment and quality education which is successfully addressed by MDGs. The MDGs show that modernization theory is fundamentally conservative in its policies and blindly reflective of the political and social prejudices of mid-century American establishment (Ogujiuba & Jumare, 2012). Dependency theory rose as a reaction to the modernization theory. Chew and Denemark (1996) argues that the dependency theory sees the world's nations divided into two, the core being the wealthy nations which dominate a periphery of poor nations whose main function in the system is to provide cheap labour and raw materials to the core. The benefits go entirely to the rich nations while the poor nations do not advance (Chew & Denemark, 1996). Dependency theorists argue that it is necessary for the underdeveloped nations to break their ties with developed nations if they were to develop and pursue internal growth (Jeffrey , 2012). However, this approach to development only depletes the resources of the poorer countries and put global inequality on rise through exploitation. Goal 8 of MDG to develop a global partnership for development seems to be an answer to the major criticism of the Dependency theory of development. Neoliberal...
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