The corporate- ization of the development discourse-Neoliberalism rebranded

I was horrified today morning  by watching an emotionally soaked ad of Vedanta on an Indian News Channel, talking about the rhetoric of development. This is the same organization that has run in to controversy with the tribals in Orissa state in India over mining leases. This has even lead to protests by tribals. Similarly, savvy corporate communication strategists wean over any bad publicity by conning the general public with elegant media campaigns. Corporates have green washed their way through by tying up with non profits in exchange for some loose change in the form of grants. Academics are not untouched too. The Climate Change skepticism is fueled by the lobbies in America, fund research to discredit Climate Change such as the Koch Brothers. Climate Change is a meta phenomena which impacts poor, vulnerable communities from the Maldives to Tuvalu every single day. Media is also driven by advertising moolah, its role is implicit in the contamination of the narrative.

Green washing can help only so far. Sincere efforts are around, but they are few and far in between. The lust for money can lead to intellectual infidelity and professional devaluation. This is not un-natural as there are families to feed and bills to pay, but in such circumstances the moral and ethical entrepreneurs of our society have to brought to audit as well.  Think Tanks and Global NGO’s are driven by vested interests. Capitalist fodder drives them. The developmental narrative is hence not immune too.  Corporate Social Responsibility has a strategic social risk management value, and shared value can indeed be created, but the soul of development seems to be eroded. The MBA-ization of the development sector is impertetive but how much of the donor dollar is actually reaching the intended recipient is a different issue altogether. It seems, that neoliberal agenda rebrands its old wine in new skin every generation, the spirit of capitalism should be relived in its original avatar.


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