South Africa: The Climate Crisis Discourse Needs to Include Developmental States


As we are confronted daily with the dangerous effects of a climate crisis which is a direct result of pollution, activists across the globe are clamouring for solutions. Notwithstanding the critical importance of championing sustainable solutions to this scourge that threatens our very existence on the earth, the socio-economic conditions of poor countries and communities must not be undermined in this debate.

Ha-Joon Chang, a Korean developmental economist, in his book Kicking Away the Ladder, suggests that developed countries are now expecting developing countries to become developed, but without affording them the mechanisms that the developed countries used themselves to become developed.

For example, the north (Europe) used slavery, colonialism and exploitation, all to develop their countries back home, not caring at all about human rights, the environment and so on. Yet they want developing countries to also become developed and sustainable, but criticise them if they do things that are not viewed as protecting human rights.

Even more so, we know that the earth simply cannot manage to have all countries as developed as the global north is today. The levels of development in the north are simply not sustainable for our planet.

Using the argument of Ha-Joon Chang,...

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