The Development Set by Ross Coggins

This famous poem written in 1976 by Baptist missionary and USAID worker Ross Coggins (1927-2011) is all the more relevant today.

According to several sources it was published in a magazine called Adult Education and Development in 1976.  I haven’t been able to find a copy of the magazine so I am copying the poem as it appeared in the New Internationalist (Issue 272, October 1995), along with a few verses I found in another source. Continue reading


Ease of Doing Business Rankings, Social and Environmental Safeguard Policies

Some background reading to understand why people are  calling for the world bank to stop ranking counties on “ease of doing business”and stop weakening its safeguard policies:
World Bank:  Ease of Doing Business  & World Bank’s Doing Business Infographic
World Bank:  Safeguard Policies  & Proposal to review & update Safeguard Policies (2014)
Letter opposing this draft from 99 NGOs / civil society networks from Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America and Europe titled:  World Bank’s Draft Safeguards Fail to Protect Land Rights and Prevent Impoverishment: Major Revisions Required (July 2014)

Bank Information Centre PRESS RELEASE: World Bank Breaks its Promise Not to Weaken Protections for the Poor and Planet

Critique written by Bretton Woods Project: Dangers of dilution: World Bank’s new weak environmental and social framework

Our Land, Our Business: How World Bank Rankings Impoverish SmallHolder Farmers and other reports by the Oakland Institute. 

Oakland Institute Press Release: Farmers, Indigenous Peoples, and NGOs Take to Streets in Ten Cities Demanding an End to World Bank’s Morally Bankrupt Development Continue reading


Notice: Rally in DC on World Bank Safeguard Policies and a Public Meeting with Medha Patkar

Demand that the World Bank stop weakening its social and environmental safeguard policies.  

Internationally renowned activist Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of People’s Movements will be in Washington DC and will be present at a rally in front of the World Bank.  Friends of the Earth’s notice of the rally is here.

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Exhortation, Memorium

The Call of Harsud: Vikas Chahiye, Vinas Nahin

Baba Amte addressing Harsud Rally Photo by Smitu Kothari.  Photo of Shankar Guha Niyogi by Anand Patwardhan.  Remaining Photos taken from video footage of John D'Souza.

It was at a gathering in 1999 that many of my generation first heard of the Harsud Rally and were present when the 28th of September was declared as Harsud Day which we commemorated along with the people of the Narmada Valley in Domkhedi, in the hamlet called Kuthavani Pada, Akkalkuva Tehsil, District Nandurbar, Maharashtra.

Ten years prior, people of the Narmada Valley along with as many as fifty thousand people from villages and valleys and towns across India had come together to call for a development policy that worked for them, that supported social and environmental justice through the democratic process.  To expose and oppose policies that were made in the name of development but in fact extinguished the very resources that supported people’s lives and livelihoods, as well as the lives of myriad other species.  To stand united for just and equitable development, for the survival of the rivers and forests and all the life and culture they nourish. Continue reading


The Development Set by Rost Coggins

Rost Coggins

Excuse me friends, I must catch my jet
I am off to join the development set
My bags are packed, and I have had all my shots
I have travelers’ checks and pills for the trot

The Development Set is bright and noble
Out thoughts are deep and our vision global
Although we move with the better classes
Our thoughts are always with the masses

In Sheraton hotels in scattered nations
We damn multinational companies
Injustice seems so easy to protest
In such seething hotbeds of social unrest

We discuss malnutrition over steaks
And plan hunger talks during coffee breaks
Whether Asian floods or Africa drought
We face each issue with an open mouth

We bring in consultants whose circumlocutions
Raise difficulties for every situation
Thus guaranteeing continued good eating
By showing the need for another meeting

The language of the Development Set
Stretches the English alphabet
We use swell words like ‘epigenetic’
‘Micro’, ‘Macro’ and ‘Logarithmetic’!

Development set homes are extremely chic
Full of carvings, curios and draped in batik
Eye-level photographs subtly assure
That your host is at home with the rich “n” poor

Enough of these verses ­ on with the mission!
Out task is as broad as the human condition!
Just pray to God the biblical promise is true:
The poor ye shall always have with you.

-Rost Coggins
(from “Lords of Poverty” by Graham Hancock)
http://www.etext.org/Politics/Progressi … ossCoggins


Demolition of a Dream

Demolition of a dream appeared in The Hindu on 3 December 2000.

The six-year fight by the people of Narmada valley, to retain their land, may have been stopped temporarily, but the country is left with questions to which there can be no answers. The displacement of the tribals, sustained for generations by the local resource and skill base, sounds a death-knell to our civilisation, writes L. S. ARAVINDA.

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