A feature of the People-Centered Development Forum,   Release Date May 10, 1994

by David C. Korten

In March 1995, the World Summit for Social Development will bring together
heads of state and government in Copenhagen to "agree on a joint action for
alleviating and reducing poverty, expanding productive employment and enhancing
social integration." These are fundamental needs that stem from a growing
global social crisis. Of the three needs, attention is likely to focus on
expanding employment as the solution not only to unemployment, but also to
poverty and social disintegration. Indeed unemployment a clear, universal and
growing problem is almost certain to be a focus of political concern and action
at local, national and global levels for many years to come.

This paper presents an argument, emerging out of discussions among a number
of grassroots citizen organizations, that attempting to solve the world’s
employment crisis using conventional job creation measures such as economic
stimulus packages that encourage increased consumption and offer incentives to
large investors cannot work. To the contrary, such measures will almost
certainly deepen the global social crisis and increase the stress on an already
overburdened environment. We need to look in a very different place for a
solution to our collective social crisis that will lead more directly to
eliminating deprivation and mending the social fabric that has fallen into an
advanced state of disintegration.

A suggested starting point is to focus not on the need for jobs defined by
an English dictionary as "a specific piece of work, as in one’s trade; an
activity performed in exchange for payment" but rather on the need for
sustainable livelihoods defined as "a means of living or of supporting
life; of obtaining the necessities of life." In light of current realities
it is wholly unrealistic to expect that any available policies will result in
providing adequate and satisfying jobs for everyone in the world who might want
or need one. However, assuring everyone an opportunity for a satisfying and
sustainable livelihood by which they may obtain the necessities of life even
while significantly reducing traditional welfare assistance programs is entirely
within our collective means.


Nearly fifty years of international development effort have focused public
policy and resources on efforts to accelerate the growth of monetized economies.
These efforts have achieved a five-fold increase in global GNP since 1950. Yet
unemployment, poverty, and inequality continue to increase, the social fabric of
family and community is disintegrating, and the ability of the ecosystem to
support human life is being destroyed all at accelerating rates. Left without
adequate opportunities for productive employment, a major portion of humanity is
marginalized from the mainstream social, political and economic processes of the
societies in which they live, and more than a billion people are consigned to
lives of abject poverty. The tragic irony is that while a wide range of
essential needs go unmet, hundreds of millions of people have been forced into
unproductive idleness or meaningless work.

These economic failures have gripped the world in a deepening social crisis
every bit as severe as the parallel environmental crisis. Both crises result
from misplaced priorities that are in turn a direct consequence of confusing
means with ends. Very simply, we have defined our goals in terms of growing
economies to provide jobs a means rather than developing healthy sustainable
human societies that provide people with secure and satisfying livelihoods, an
end. Consequently, the economic growth of the past twenty years has primarily
benefited a tiny elite while leaving the rest of humanity, present and future,
with the bill. It is time to recognize that we are getting the wrong answers
because we are asking the wrong questions.

Deregulation and Globalization: A Race to the Bottom

The obsessive quest for economic growth has provided the impetus for recent
economic policies geared to the deregulation and the integration of local
markets into a single global economy. As local economies have been globalized,
economic power has shifted from smaller, locally rooted producers to powerful
global corporations beyond the reach of government regulation and freed from
accountability to the public good. These corporations have in turn used
technological advances to shed jobs by the hundreds of thousands producing ever
more of what existing markets will absorb with ever fewer workers. They have
similarly taken advantage of economic integration to move production to wherever
wages, working conditions, taxes and environmental standards allow them to
produce at the lowest cost for sale wherever markets exist. The result is to
push down wages, weaken the implementation of environmental standards, and
reduce their taxes below their fair share of costs of the public facilities they
use. Returns to a small number of investors are increased relative to returns to
labor, steadily widening the gap between the wealthy and most everyone else.
Growing numbers of workers do not earn enough to buy the products they produce,
ultimately narrowing the market for the products of the companies that employ

All the while the largest and wealthiest corporations are gaining and
strengthening monopolistic control over global markets, finance, and technology
by buying out, squeezing out, or forming strategic alliances with their
competitors. These efforts are often aided by the ability of these corporations
to promote favorable legislative treatment for themselves through generous
political contributions to those who make the laws. Smaller enterprises that
continue to be the primary source of new jobs and technological innovation
survive only by filling specialized market niches or servicing the needs of
larger corporations on terms largely dictated by the latter. With goods and
capital flowing freely across national borders, governments lose the ability to
manage what used to be national economies, bargain away their ability to collect
taxes, and become increasingly irrelevant.

These processes have combined with population growth and migration to create
a growing employment crisis in nearly every nation in the world depriving people
everywhere of the personal security of either an adequate livelihood or a secure
social support system. A vast global pool of unemployed, underemployed and
underpaid workers competing with one another for ever-scarcer jobs, assures that
wages will be kept low.

Governments at all levels typically respond to the resulting crisis by
offering investment incentives to global corporations searching the world for
the lowest cost production sites. By responding to a real need in an obvious
way, each locality in turn joins a race to the bottom that pits localities
against one another in a global competition for a declining pool of good jobs. A
few localities emerge as temporary winners, creating the illusion that such
competition is the path to economic security.

In unregulated globalized markets, capital becomes rootless, impatient, and
controlled by entities that have no commitment to place or people. Those who
make decisions regarding the use of local resources live in distant places
wholly insulated from the local consequences of those decisions. Markets respond
to money and to those who have money. The most fundamental needs of the poor are
ignored for the simple reason they do not have money. Few companies, aside from
those selling soft drinks and tobacco, prosper by targeting the poor. The
ability of governments to manage national and local economies in the public
interest, raise taxes for public needs, and hold inequality within reasonable
bounds becomes impaired. More of the costs of production, including
environmental and social costs, are passed from the producer onto the community.
Toxic contamination, chronic health problems, hunger and malnutrition,
deteriorating public infrastructure, increased deprivation among the poor and
growing inequality are evident consequences.

A Full World: Destroying Our Nest

Every bit of material and energy used by the human economy comes from
earth’s ecosystem. Every waste particle discarded by the human economy is
returned to earth’s ecosystem. The meaning of the term environmentally
sustainable is quite clear. Activities that depend on turning the earth’s stored
energy and materials into wastes faster than the ecosystem can recycle them is
inherently unsustainable. Current unsustainable consumption reduces the
opportunities available to future generations. A substantial portion of the
activity we count as economic growth is in sectors such oil, petrochemical,
metal, agriculture, public utilities, road building, transport and mining that
involve heavy demands on materials, space, soil and energy and generate enormous
wastes. Furthermore, as a general rule, the more resources an activity consumes
for example driving a car versus riding a bicycle the more it contributes to GNP
and to employment.2

It is evident that the environmental demands of many human activities have
reached or exceeded what the ecosystem can sustain. Most of the world’s
cultivatable land has already been appropriated and the soils of much of the
currently cultivated land are being depleted. Many of the world’s historically
most productive fisheries are collapsing. More and more localities face severe
shortages of fresh water. Much of the world’s grasslands are heavily overgrazed.
Pollution of the atmosphere is thinning the ozone layer and creating a risk of
massive climate change. Garbage is accumulating faster than we can find ways to
dispose of it, while chemical and radioactive wastes are rendering more and more
areas of the earth’s surface unusable. And each day adds more people to the
global population than were added the day before.3

In an open market economy scarcity is an inconvenience for the rich. It is a
disaster for the poor. It has been said that the free market is the most
efficient human institution ever devised for assuring that when resources get
scarce the rich will get them. In the name of economic growth and job creation,
livelihoods are being destroyed at an alarming rate as stable subsistence
communities are evicted from their lands to make way for dams, mines, golf
courses and luxury resorts, agricultural estates, and forest plantations or
their forests, water sources, and fisheries are mined for quick profits by
powerful corporate interests.

Roughly 80 percent of the burden on the world’s environmental resources is
created by the consumption of the 20 percent of the world’s population who earn
80 percent of global income. Much of that consumption especially for
transportation and packaging is enormously wasteful. Encouraging those with
money to consume more than they really need intensifies the competition for
limited environmental resources between those who produce luxuries for the rich
and the poor who depend on the same resources for survival.

In the end, there are too few people in the world with consequential
discretionary income to make a dent in the world’s unemployment by increasing
their consumption even if they were to devote their total income to wasteful
extravagance. The main consequence would be to increase the burdens placed on
the environment at the cost of further displacing those whose subsistence
depends on those same environmental resources as is already happening.

Development: Strengthening the Market and Weakening Community

Functioning, caring families and households are the foundation of
functioning, caring communities, which in turn are the foundation of
functioning, caring societies. The strength of the family or household, the
community, and the society is dependent on the strength of mutual, cooperative
relationships the social economy. Unlike market economies, which tend to join
people in purely impersonal and instrumental relationships social economies
create a dense fabric of relationships based on long-term sharing and

Traditionally most of the productive and reproductive activities that
provided people with their basic needs for food, shelter, clothing, child care,
health care, education, physical security and entertainment were carried out
within the framework of the social economy, largely outside of the market. A
substantial portion of production/consumption activities took place within a
single household or took place between people who related directly to one
another. The productive activities of the social economy met most of the basic
needs of its members, the very conduct of these activities served to maintain
the social bonds of trust and obligation, "the social capital," of the

Social economies are by nature local, non-waged, non-monetized, and
non-market. Therefore, they are not counted in national income statistics, do
not contribute to measured economic growth, and are undervalued by policy makers
who count only activities in the market economy as productive contributions to
national output. A considerable portion of the economic growth of recent decades
is simply a result of shifting functions from the social economy, where they are
not counted in GNP, to the market economy, where they are.

Shifting a basic function like child care, health care, food preparation,
entertainment, or physical security from the social economy to the market
economy produces no necessary improvement in well-being. To the contrary, the
energies once invested in developing and maintaining family and community
relationships are simply redirected to generating sufficient income to meet
needs the social economy once fulfilled. Left without consequential functions,
the social capital of family and community, on which the social economy is
based, erodes, social bonds are weakened and whatever economic gains, if any,
may have been achieved by shifting functions to the market economy are more than
offset by the costs of the resulting insecurity, crime, mental depression,
violence, and suicide.

Conventional Solutions Can Only Make the Problems Worse

It should by now be evident that conventional job creation policies cannot
work. The efforts by large corporations to improve their bottom line through
downsizing renders already highly educated and skilled workers jobless, while
government sponsored training programs prepare people for jobs that do not exist
or pay too little to provide basic sustenance without government supplements.
Capital investment incentives encourage the purchase of more advanced labor
saving technologies that allow companies to reduce employment even further.
Government fiscal policies aimed at strengthening demand by reducing taxes or
increasing government spending often encourage more waste of environmental
resources for non-essentials, while depriving the truly needy of their use.

For a given locality efforts to place more money in the hands of consumers
may only increase the demand for imported products creating foreign exchange
deficits and increasing pressures to sell-off environmental resources such as
timber at bargain prices to make up the difference. Reducing trade barriers in
the hope of increasing export sales may only displace more locally produced
products with imports while encouraging the export of plants, equipment, and
jobs to localities that offer cheaper labor. Offering subsidies to firms to
locate in a particular locality only moves jobs around, it does not create them.
The best that most of these measures accomplish is to further increase corporate
profits at the public expense.

Consequently, we must conclude that many current public policies are
self-defeating. A global economy that depends on consuming environmental
resources faster than they can be regenerated destroys its own resource base. A
global economy that pays its workers too little to buy the products they produce
destroys its own markets. A global economy that displaces the functions of
households and communities destroys the social fabric. A global economy that
destroys its resource base, its markets, and the social fabric cannot long
survive nor can the corporations whose profits depend on these self-destructive
dynamics. Dealing with the world’s social crises requires a more holistic
approach that views the development of healthy societies to be the goal, deals
with the market economy as one of several means to realize that goal, and
returns economic and political control to people.


A strong and vibrant social economy is a necessary foundation of a healthy
human society. For this reason, the regeneration of social economies is
fundamental to any successful effort to address the world’s proliferating social
crises. Taking appropriate steps requires understanding the nature of social
economies and why they have become so dangerously eroded.

Undervaluing the Social Economy

The fact that a market economy depends on a strong social economy to
maintain the ethical structure, social stability, and personal security on which
the smooth function of a market depends is routinely overlooked by economic
policy makers. To the contrary, the destruction of the social economy to advance
economic growth is not only accepted, but applauded by most economic planners
much as they applaud economic activities that advance economic growth by
depleting natural capital.

Why isn’t the important output of the social economy recognized in economic
statistics? One explanation is that this output is harder to count. Another is
that women have traditionally had the primary role in the productive and
reproductive activities of the social economy, while men have had the dominant
role in the monetized market economy. When male economists decided to develop a
measure of economic output, they assigned more importance to things produced in
the pursuit of money, traditionally the world of men, than to what was produced
as an act of love, mutual obligation, or service to family and community,
traditionally the world of women. As any economist will cheerfully point out,
economics is about money not love.

It is hardly surprising that predominantly male economic policy makers using
indicators that recognized only the male dominated market economy were inclined
to believe that moving women into the money economy constituted a real
contribution to improved national output and well-being. Many women, eager to
escape the inferior status assigned to their roles in the social economy and to
have a wider range of opportunity for economic participation, readily embraced
the logic of the male dominated market place.

Where Markets are Inefficient

As productive and reproductive functions have been transferred from the
social economy to the market economy, more and more of the return from
productive activity has been shifted away from the actual producers to those who
perform overhead functions that add no real intrinsic value. When family and
community members work directly with and for one another there are no taxes,
management salaries, lawyers fees, stockholder dividends, middlemen, brokers,
transportation costs and other overhead expenses. The full value of the goods
and services produced is shared and exchanged within the family and the
community among those who actually created the value.4 The result is an
extraordinarily efficient use of resources to meet real needs.

Indeed, in many sectors the market economy’s overhead costs are so high
that, even with two wage earners and longer work hours, many households cannot
now adequately meet needs once met quite satisfactorily by the social economy.
With no parent in the home, children are sequentially cared for, if at all, by
nurseries, day-care centers and schools. Parents, or more often a single
impoverished female parent, are left with little time, energy or encouragement
to do more than function as income earners and night guardians. The modern urban
home has become little more than a place to sleep and watch television if the
household can afford one. High rates of deprivation, depression, divorce,
teenage pregnancy, violence, alcoholism and drug abuse, crime and suicide are
among the more evident consequences in both high and low income countries.5

In general, public policy proposals intended to correct these indicators of
serious social dysfunction take no account of the fact that they are a direct
consequence of the destruction of the social economy, which is in turn a
consequence of the same unsound economic policies commonly favored by efforts to
increase employment.

Restoring Roots, Balance and the Social Economy

The market is an important and useful human institution for meeting certain
needs to which it is well suited. Unfortunately, we have lost sight of a basic
reality that market economies best serve the human interest when they functions
as a adjunct to a robust social economy founded on values of cooperation,
sharing, trust and mutual obligation. Market economies are most likely to serve
such a supportive function when:

  • They are primarily local in character augmented by, rather than dependent
    on, trading relationships with more remote localities;
  • Capital is rooted in local ownership and most production is carried out by
    small enterprises;
  • Strong democratically accountable governments set the goals and provide a
    regulatory framework for the market’s socially productive function; and,
  • A strong and politically active civil society holds government accountable
    to the public interest.

When any of these conditions not met, the market is likely to undermine the
social economy and reduce human security. A globalized market tends to negate
all of these conditions. The result is enormous social inefficiency as the world
is now experiencing.

We must find more holistic approaches to dealing with poverty, unemployment
and social disintegration based on restoring the bonds of community and healing
the planet. This requires a search for economic policies that strengthen rather
than displace the social economy. In addition, such policies must accomplish
what contemporary social economies have failed to do support gender equity and a
sharing by women and men of responsibility for the functions of both the social
and market economies.


It is time to move beyond competing globally for a finite pool of formal
jobs and think more creatively about ways of engaging people in sustainable
livelihoods meaningful productive activities meeting real and otherwise unmet
needs of households and communities in ways that are socially and
environmentally sustainable. This shift in perspective recognizes that the
economic systems of healthy sustainable societies must do a great deal more than
provide a favored few with jobs to earn money to buy things they don’t need to
stimulate the economy to provide a favored few with jobs to earn money to
buy…. etc.

In a more holistic vision, sustainable societies:

  • Provide all people an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to meeting the
    needs of family, community and society;
  • Give first priority to meeting the basic needs of all and provide them
    security against involuntary deprivation;
  • Live within their means and discourage consumption patterns beyond an
    equitable per capita share of sustainable ecosystem output;
  • Structure production processes so that environmental resources are used in
    sustainable ways; and,
  • Contribute to maintaining a strong and dynamic fabric of cooperative human

Our modern concept of a "job" is imbedded in a complex set of
values, institutions and relationships that are leading us into ever deeper
social and environmental crisis. The concept of a "sustainable livelihood"
is similarly imbedded in a complex, but quite different, set of values,
institutions and relationships suited to a sustainable post-modern society.
While there are groups all around the world working to create the future within
their local settings and who are seeking out appropriate guidelines for policy
and constructing possible scenarios for a sustainable future, these remain
speculative and fragmented. We are of necessity engaged in an act of creation,
not replication.

For most of us, the topic of jobs brings to mind primarily images of people
working in the plants and facilities of world’s largest transnational
corporations for which localities around the world are competing. The term
sustainable livelihoods is meant to evoke very different images of people and
communities engaged in meeting individual and collective needs through the
cooperative use of local resources in environmentally sustainable ways.

As the unfolding image takes on ever greater definition, we may begin to
discern an organizational structure that links the local with the global in a
multi-level system of human habitats organized as continuously self-renewing,
self-governing, self-reliant eco-communities. Household eco-communities might be
clustered into neighborhood eco-communities, clustered into village
eco-communities, clustered into regional eco-communities, and so forth, to the
level of a global eco-community. A system goal would be to concentrate
decision-making authority at local rather than global levels, with the result
that those who make decisions would be more likely to bear their primary
consequences and it would be more difficult for one group to pass the
environmental or social costs of its decisions onto another group.

Since the few examples we have in our modern world of societies that
practice sustainable living are found among remote peoples and cultures, often
living under primitive conditions, there are those who dismiss any talk of
sustainability as calling for a return to living in trees and caves and hunting
wild animals. It is an uninformed charge that bears no relationship to the
vision of those who point to the need for economic justice and a balanced
relationship between people and environment as necessary conditions for the
survival and continued progress of our species.

The challenge is to make full, but selective, use of our technical and
organizational capabilities in taking a new evolutionary step toward the
creation of human societies that define their well-being not by the size their
garbage dumps, but rather by their success in assuring the physical security of
all their members and in achieving ever higher levels of intellectual, social,
cultural and spiritual development.


The ideal of neighborhood and village eco-communities envisions the melding
of human and non-human systems in co-productive processes of continuous
regeneration by recycling sewage, solid waste and even air through fish ponds,
gardens and green areas to produce much of the local requirement for food,
energy, clean water, fresh air and recreational spaces. Generally we think of
such processes entirely in terms of rural areas, however, proponents of urban
agriculture and ruralized urban design believe that even urban spaces can be
made far more self-reliant than at present. Urban agriculture, urban
aquaculture, repair and reuse, and the intensive recycling of wastes would
provide new sustainable livelihood opportunities, while renewing family and
community ties, decentralizing administration, and allowing greater sharing of
family responsibilities among men and women.

With time we may find traditional types of cottage industries existing
side-by-side with urban agricultural and recycling activities and with
electronic cottage industries of the high technology age. Family support
services such as community-based day care, family counselling, schools, family
health services, and multi-purpose community centers could become integral
neighborhood functions, engaging people in livelihoods within easy walking
distance of their homes. Many eco-communities may issue their own local currency
to facilitate local transactions and limit the flow of money out of the

Continuing the current trend toward home based part-time employment, many
households might combine salaried employment with urban subsistence agriculture,
recycling and voluntary community service leading to a return of the
multi-functional home that serves as a center of family and community life. This
would be consistent with the call to design human habitats such that
residential, work, recreation and commercial facilities are within walking
distance of one another, reducing much of the energy and other environmental
costs of transportation.

Promoting sustainable livelihoods rather than jobs will not in itself change
the powerful and deeply imbedded values and institutional structures that
sustain the present economic system, but it will suggest that we recognize the
need for unconventional solutions a first step toward corrective action. At last
we might begin to ask the right questions.

What is the prospect for such a fundamental redirection? While we must
continue to hope that there are enlightened power-holders willing to come
forward and provide real leadership, our major hope for change is found among
ordinary people all around the world who are awakening to the basic reality that
the mega-institutions that have consolidated their hold on the instruments of
economic and political power do not, and will not, serve their interests.


January 1, 1994 was the inaugural day of the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA), an agreement intended to complete the integration of the
economies of Mexico, Canada, and the United States. The corporate elites of the
three countries congratulated themselves on the new opportunities the merger
created to expand their profits and market share. Among the most jubilant were
the 36 Mexican businessmen who own 39 Mexican conglomerates that collectively
account for more than 54 percent of Mexico’s Gross National Product.

The indigenous peoples of Chiapas State in Southeastern Mexico on the border
with Guatemala took a strikingly different view of this new step toward economic
integration and globalization. Calling NAFTA a death sentence for the people of
Chiapas, some four thousand Indians celebrated the occasion by launching an
armed rebellion against the Mexican government. Mexican political analyst
Gustavo Esteva called it the first revolution of the 21st century. Unlike most
revolutions of the 20th century, it was not aimed at capturing state power. Its
goal was rather to secure the right of people to govern themselves within the
borders of their own communities. They demanded only greater local autonomy,
economic justice and political rights.

The Chiapas rebellion was only one of the more visible manifestations of
similar social forces that are emerging almost everywhere in the world with a
potential to redefine the face of politics and economics well into the 21st
century. These social forces grow out of two realities that give a distinctive
quality to this moment in human history.

Institutional Legitimacy and Local Responsibility. In democratic societies
it is expected that the institutions in which political and economic power have
been vested derive their legitimacy from being duly constituted by and
accountable to the sovereign people, conducting their operations according to an
appropriate code of morals and ethics, and producing desirable consequences for
the whole. The world’s dominant mega-institutions both public and private
currently fail on all three counts and their legitimacy in the eyes of the
public is at a near historic low.

Reform is becoming less and less an issue. They are simply too big, too
distant, too beholden to special interests and too costly to respond in any
useful way to the broader human interest. Instead of looking to them for
solutions, the impulse of those who have been discarded or marginalized by the
globalized economy is increasingly to dismiss such mega-institutions as
hopelessly unresponsive and get on with taking back responsibility for their own
lives. In the spirit of earlier frontier communities, they are saying, "If
our needs are to be met we will have to get together and figure out how to meet
them for ourselves."

Global Interdependence. Modern communications technologies have created
awareness nearly everywhere that all people share one fragile planetary
ecosystem and are suffering in similar ways from the failure of the
mega-institutions that govern the planet. This awareness along with the ability
for instantaneous communication through phone, fax, and computer has created a
foundation for cooperation and solidarity among the world’s people wholly
without precedent in human history. A sense that the well-being of each
increasingly depends on the well-being of all is beginning to take hold as the
foundation of grassroots alliances aimed at strengthening local control and the
rights and well-being of ordinary citizens everywhere.

The emergent social forces find expression in local initiatives aimed at
regenerating local economies, ecosystems and communities. As people reclaim
responsibility, they are also reclaiming their sovereignty, reasserting their
basic rights over local resources, challenging the abuses of absentee
corporations, and telling non-performing governments to reduce their tax burden.
They are also beginning to reach out in search of new alliances, both nationally
and internationally, with those engaged in similar self-help initiatives.

These countless initiatives and the cooperative networks that are melding
them into a growing political force are the building blocks of a process of
globalization-from-below that may well result in a bottom-up reconstruction of
our dominant political and economic institutions. As this process unfolds, it
will become increasingly clear that the mega-institutions that have broken free
from their own roots cannot long survive. Floating in space they can only
consume themselves while the people they have abandoned work to fill the gap
left in the social ecology with new institutions rooted in place and community.

We have come to see that even when our governments invite citizens
organizations to join them in global conferences such as the Social Summit to
craft declarations of commitment to addressing pressing social and environmental
needs they are engaged in little more than public posturing. We know the more
substantive international agreements that define the priorities and commitments
that create the human crisis are being crafted behind closed doors in secret
consultations with the world’s most powerful corporations in fora such as the
World Trade Organization.

When the heads of our governments gather for the Social Summit in 1995, we
might hope that at least a few among them will recognize that the path to a more
promising human future lies with the people and the process of
globalization-from-below through which the seeds of new and strongly rooted
human institutions are being planted and nurtured. Perhaps at least one or two
may speak not of jobs, but of sustainable livelihoods. While a small step, it
may give us hope that the people are not entirely alone in their historic
struggle to regain control of their local political and economic space.

This paper was produced as a cooperative undertaking that involved important
contributions from a substantial number of the contributing editors of the
People-Centered Development Forum. It also benefited from extensive critical
feedback from participants in a joint PCDForum-IGGRI workshop organized in
conjunction with the 21st Global Conference of the Society for International
Development held in Mexico City in April 1994.

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