Is Good Governance Good for Development?

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Whilst good governance is a worthy goal by itself, this book argues that it is not a prerequisite for economic growth or development. Challenging the conventional good governance paradigm favoured by the donor community, this book exposes the methodological shortcomings of the commonly-used governance indicators developed within the World Bank. It argues that aggregate good governance indicators are less helpful for identifying governance failure in specific areas needing policy interventions. Bringing together contributions from leading political scientists, political economists and development practitioners, this is the first book that focuses on such good governance issues.



The seductiveness of good governance

Conventional discussions of development tend to ignore the power of discourse and its role in the construction and maintenance of Western hegemony in the Third World. This chapter shows how development discourse has constructed the Third World as underdeveloped and thereby normalized and legitimized the right of the North to intervene in, control and develop the South. The focus is on the good governance agenda itself. The good governance discourse is merely the latest version of the ‘dream of development’, entitling the North to develop and democratize the South in its image. In this way, the chapter shows both how the international is always present in domestic politics and how many international interventions are sanctioned by development discourse’s representation of the Third World. Development discourse thus emerges as crucial to an understanding of development in Africa.


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