The results of development are now widely thought to have betrayed expectations. Using illustrations from Bolivia, this essay argues that these dispiriting results often owe to distortions that render development something other than what it pretends to be, or is usually understood to be. The distortions derive from the use of inappropriate mental constructs, from links to foreign policy, from "expert" ignorance, and from weak sensitivity by development agencies to how their interventions are construed by local economic and power elites. While these agencies have formal mechanisms to correct some of the distortions, the mechanisms too often fail to work. Correcting these distortions is a daunting task, rooted as they are deep in national institutions and conceptions of national interest. The end of the Cold War nonetheless affords an auspicious moment for doing so. Indeed, not to is to risk turmoil in regions like Latin America. Yet international capitalist powers and local elites are not seizing the moment; exulting in victory, they continue down old paths. Further alarming is the anti-aid sentiment in the United States and Europe, with consequent political advocacy ranging from abolishment to varying degrees of reform under large budget cuts.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.