ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. (April 13, 2008) - When does international aid cause more harm than good, and how can the United States act more responsibly toward developing nations? These tough questions and others will be the topic of a panel discussion on Wednesday, April 16, at St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM). The panel's presentation will focus on the ethical implications of global development.
Panel members include Professors Michael Cain, of the College's political science department; Ho Nguyen, of the economics department; and Bill Roberts, of the anthropology department. The fourth panelist, Henry Rosemont, Jr., who retired from SMCM after teaching philosophy and religious studies for 24 years, is currently a Visiting Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University.
The presentation will be from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m. in Schafer Hall, Room 106, and is free and open to the public.
The ethics of global development, also known as "development ethics," is a relatively young, cross-disciplinary field of study that developed during the latter half of the 20th century. It focuses broadly on the ethical implications of globalization and the interactions between First World and Third World nations.
"Development ethics crosses into just about every field of academia," said Scott Zuke, president of the College's Philosophy Club, which is hosting the event. "By bringing in experts from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, we're hoping to illuminate the complexity of the issues we see on the news every night, from the war in Iraq to the protests in Burma and Tibet. Problems as big as these have to be looked at from many perspectives before they can be fully grasped."
The need for a clearer understanding of the complexities involved arises from the fact that often when wealthy, developed nations attempt to help poor and developing ones, they end up inadvertently aggravating problems rather than solving them.
"Development loans made by the World Bank regularly correlate with poverty alleviation programs--especially in Africa," said Rosemont, explaining his topic for the panel discussion. "The problem is that the correlations are consistently negative: the larger the loan and the deeper the structural reforms demanded by the bank, and the IMF [International Monetary Fund], the more poverty tends to increase in the recipient nation."
"The complexity of issues like this often seems to mean that the difficulties we run into and the solutions we seek are counter-intuitive," Zuke said. "Each of the professors on the panel has extensive and direct experience with these problems, and we look forward to hearing their insights."
The event is co-sponsored by the SMCM Global Justice League, For Goodness' Sake, College Republicans, and the Sociology/Anthropology Club.