Even if globalization processes of various kinds are tending to reduce the significance of borders between countries, there remains big differences between the countries in the global community. Economic growth, corruption, protection of human rights, democracy, the environment and gender equality are areas where countries are developing at decidedly different speeds and in distinctly different directions.
In the ideal picture of globalization, the differences between countries are decreasing and we get more of everything desirable – democracy, gender equality and economic development that is also environmentally sustainable. However, the reality is more complicated. Even if the number of democratic states is growing, more and more countries are struggling with the fact that the foundations of the rule-governed state are eroding or maybe have never really become soundly established. Even if in some regions, class differences may be starting to decline, the number of people living in poverty is rising in many countries.
Political protests in connection with the international meetings of major economic players bear witness to the fact that matters of development, particularly those related to environmental issues, are dividing political opinion into increasingly radical camps.
In the debate on these questions, the focus is on the concept of development. A fundamental assumption of the course recommended in this blogg, is that it is possible and meaningful to measure different kinds of development within and between states. This makes it interesting to raise questions of how different kinds of development are to be interpreted and explained and to discuss how central players within the world community are trying to tackle or resolve different kinds of development problems.