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The Professional Geographer
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authors and subscription information:
http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rtpg20
A Review of Delivering
Development: Globalization's
Shoreline and the Road to a
Sustainable Future
Samuel Thompson
a
a
Department of Geography , Western Illinois
University , Macomb , IL
Published online: 28 Dec 2011.
To cite this article: Samuel Thompson (2012) A Review of Delivering Development:
Globalization's Shoreline and the Road to a Sustainable Future, The Professional
Geographer, 64:1, 154-156, DOI: 10.1080/00330124.2011.633459
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00330124.2011.633459
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154
Volume 64, Number 1, February 2012
anthropological studies of cities, but its value in
geography is less than it should be because the
theoretical impact of edge cities is already
deeply embedded in urban and social geogra-
phy today.
Key Words: ethnography, rural-urban divide,
Vietnam.
References
Dick, H. W., and P. J. Rimmer. 1998. Beyond the
Third-World city: The new urban geography of
Southeast Asia. Urban Studies 35 (12): 230321.
Garreau, J. 1991. Edge city: Life on the new frontier.
New York: Doubleday.
Harvey, D. 1982. The limits to capital. Oxford, UK:
Verso.
. 1989. The condition of postmodernity. Oxford,
UK: Basil Blackwell.
Delivering Development: Globalizations
Shoreline and the Road to a Sustainable
Future. Edward R. Carr. New York: Pal-
grave Macmillan, 2011. 250 pp. $38.00 cloth
(ISBN 978-0-230-11076-2).
Reviewed by Samuel Thompson, Department
of Geography, Western Illinois University,
Macomb, IL.
Even if you have not lived in a village, you
should enjoy reading this well-written book,
which contributes to discourse on development
in the developing world. It is based on Edward
Carrs personal reections on development, af-
ter spending more than thirteen years with the
people of Dominase and Ponkrum in the Cen-
tral Region of Ghana. After more than a decade
in this African country, Carr accumulates many
rsthand observations that formthe basis of the
books title, Delivering Development. He begins
with background narratives on his journey and
research work in the country. It is during this
period that the author discovers the imperfec-
tions of Western development ideas in a place
that he calls the globalization shoreline.
Throughout the book, Carr refers to the
two villages to illustrate the volatility of glob-
alization and development. Based on Carrs in-
teraction with villagers, he is able to present
several compelling development stories in the
country that, to some extent, mirror situations
in the rest of the developing world. He then
challenges prevailing development approaches
and their failures to eliminate or ameliorate
poverty and underdevelopment in the devel-
oping world. He states that after centuries
of growing global trade and more than six
decades of formal development (overlaid on
many decades of colonial efforts), however, the
improvement of the human condition has been
uneven at best (p. 3).
Along the globalization shoreline, Carr
makes the case that these areas bear the brunt
of economic, political, and environmental de-
cisions made in the developed world. He sys-
tematically upends commonly held ideas about
globalization and development and points out
their failures and consequences. When devel-
opment failures occur, the entire world is ex-
posed to the perils of an unbalanced global
economy. Carr argues that unless Western de-
velopment policies change and improvements
in the quality of life of globalization shoreline
people are attained, the world could see enor-
mous pressure on natural resources and envi-
ronmental degradation. To better expand on
the failure of development and globalization,
Carr formulates four arguments. Each one of
these arguments challenges commonly held as-
sumptions about development and its failure
to uplift conditions of the poor at the glob-
alization shoreline. Carr uses the rst half of
this book to tackle each of the four arguments,
making references from his days in Dominase
and Ponkrum. From chapter 1 to chapter 7, he
focuses on development issues along the glob-
alization shoreline. He establishes that the level
of development is contrary to commonly held
knowledge about development and globaliza-
tion. Traveling from the capital city, Accra, to
the central region, Carr provides examples of
development failures.
Carr systematically describes all of the
failures of development despite decades of in-
fusion of development aid at the shoreline. To
support his arguments for a new direction in
development that is sustainable, Carr provides
detailed descriptions of the villages in chapters
3 and 4. One gets a sense of people living and
going on with life despite daily challenges and
uncertainties all around them. Villagers, mostly
farmers, work hard, but the return for their
hard work is small. There is no discernible ev-
idence of material accumulation in the villages.
Even the infrastructure is lacking in many
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Book Reviews
155
ways. The author further provides several
anecdotes that center on the plight of villagers.
By the time the reader gets to chapters 6
and 7, Carr has already shown a conuence of
events at the shoreline where residents make
decisions that do not follow Western devel-
opment assumptions. For example, faced with
uncertainties, local people have abandoned
their communities in hopes of preserving a
common social order. Abandonment might
seem illogical to Western assumptions, but
villagers are constantly defying commonly held
views and pursuing their own agendas based
on prevailing conditions at the local level.
During difcult times the locals seek solace
by delinking completely from globalization
to avoid risking the communal values of the
people. In essence, survival during difcult
economic times is driven not by Western
solutions but by local norms and values.
Beginning in chapter 8, Carr starts build-
ing the foundation for new ways of addressing
development along the shoreline. His experi-
ence in the two villages shows that assumptions
about development and globalization are not
universal. There are local conditions that in-
terfere with development and globalization. As
long as development policies bring about min-
imal benets in different localities along the
globalization shoreline, a new approach needs
to be implemented to fully understand the in-
uence of local conditions on development.
The problem, as Carr sees it, lies in a lack
of understanding of the globalization shore-
line. Experts in charge of development are of-
ten detached and do not have a grasp of local
conditions during development planning. They
often make decisions based on Western ideals
and not based on local conditions. Carr makes
the case that efforts to measure human well-
being along the globalization shoreline assume
that such places lack development and lack ade-
quate connection to global markets that might
bring development (p. 137). Why is this so?
Because the data used to assess the situation in
the shoreline have little relevance to the daily
way of life of the people. Carr argues that de-
velopment and globalization assumptions must
change, including how data are collected for
shoreline analysis.
In chapter 10, Carr states that development
andglobalizationcreate opportunities andchal-
lenges. He prescribes appropriate development
strategies at the globalization shoreline, includ-
ing intensive use of information from the local
level. He makes a case that when the villages
of Dominase and Ponkrum face different op-
portunities and challenges, residents manage to
deal with the situation on their own, accord-
ing to their local social, economic, and envi-
ronmental needs. Locals have a keen sense of
their environment and should not simply be
told what to do. Instead, there should be a
collaborative effort between shoreline inhabi-
tants and Western experts. Local data provide
a wonderful opportunity to accurately assess the
situation at the shoreline. Because data are ex-
pensive, the author suggests that the World
Bank, nongovernmental organizations, and
other international organizations use their
branch ofces to collect local-level data to be
shared. Villagers of shoreline do not need so-
called experts. Given sixty years of failure of
projects and policies, it is probably much better
to have locals come up with their own inher-
ently sustainable solutions.
Carr suggests creating a network of infor-
mation to be shared between the globalization
shoreline and the developed realm; such infor-
mation would ow back and forth, allowing for
the most recent data to be used in development
decisions. Some of the benets of sharing in-
formation might include early warning systems
to provide accurate and advance information
to locals. Such an early warning system could
include potential drought information or any
adverse weather affecting the shoreline, as
most people depend on the land for their
livelihood. This ow of information will do
more in capturing opportunities that bring
about lasting solutions to poverty and under-
development. Obviously, these efforts cannot
be successful without the equal participation of
local people. As Carr vividly puts it, if we truly
hope to address the emerging environmental
and economic challenges along globalizations
shoreline in a manner that creates the best
possible future for everyone, those living in the
advanced economies must not succumb to the
temptation to dictate project and policy design
to the rest of the world (p. 174).
Because the word participation means dif-
ferent things to different people, the author
suggests a negotiated participation, where
there is a clear agreement over the nature
of participation. This means that everybody
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Volume 64, Number 1, February 2011
understands and knows the meaning of par-
ticipation. The choices are either remaining in
the past and continuing to perpetuate under-
development policies along the globalization
shoreline or moving in a new direction where
local data gathering is paramount, expanding
sources of information for decision making
and promoting collaboration. These activities
would go a long way toward reversing current
development approaches. Carr believes that
the West cannot continue to live in an echo
chamber if there is going to be a new world
order of development leading to actual suc-
cessful improvements in human well-being at
the globalization shoreline. As opportunities
and challenges arise, it might take even more
cooperation to adequately address the prob-
lems and issues. Everyone must be empowered
to be involved, as development ideas are not
the domain of the West. Locals have ideas of
their own and could be major partners and
contributors to any development along the
shoreline.
In general this is an excellent book that
contributes to the discourse on development
in the developing world. It highlights aws
in Western-sponsored development strategies
and offers new possibilities for implementing
sustainable development projects in the devel-
oping world.
Key Words: development, globalization, shoreline,
sustainable.
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