International Development in Dominican Republic & Haiti — Topic Background

International development is still a fairly new field that has emerged out of a branch of political science known as international relations roughly within the past twenty to thirty years. Today, international development takes many forms but mainly focuses on restructuring governments and their economies, the overall goal of international development is to have a world where everyone is living above the poverty line so in attempt to set a standard for quality of life in the 21st century. At a broad level, international development is important to anyone who believes in the right to life. However, when looking at it on a smaller scale it is most important to the hundreds of countries whose citizens are living under the poverty line.

International development should be important to everyone. Unfortunately, today’s development work is controversial to some due to the ethics and implications of the matter regarding short-term and long-term development and the sustainability of these developing establishments. Needless to say, international development is important to those living in underdeveloped and often times impoverished countries simply because they believe in the right to life and that their lives’ standard of living matter just as much as the lives of U.S. citizens. In order to better understand international development and its purpose, It’s important to recognize the difference between giving foreign aid and international development. International development seeks to address the reoccurring issue of sustainability that the developing world has struggled with for decades. People in the field however may appreciate the commercials that suggest donating the quarter in your pocket will somehow solve the water issues in Africa or the infant mortality rates in Haiti but that is sadly a lie. The money donated does help but donating money does not fix the structural and economic problems within a country. If anything, it perpetuates the problem and causes the poor to rely on the aid of the rich. International development seeks not to make the rich responsible for the poor but instead to solve issues of injustice and poverty by creating a sustainable environment for the underdeveloped country and its people. This topic is highly controversial because of the old-school methods of international development employed pre-2000. Since then, international development has refined it’s scope and methods in order to meet the goal sustainability so that these developing countries are not dependent on other countries’ aid to provide for their citizens which much of development work is centered around today. This topic is extremely relevant in that the field is still very young and the formula to reach sustainability in individual countries varies and therefore is not easy to execute in practice. Furthermore, even though we all live in the United States, a rich nation, many of us have parents and family from countries that would be considered underdeveloped and impoverished and perhaps came to the United States for that reason. That being said, just because we cannot physically see the people in these developing countries who are impoverished and starving, they still effect the United States and other rich countries’ standard of living too. Without them, we wouldn’t have our cheap coffee, bananas and many of the cheap resources we use in our every day lives that we take for granted. The reason for this is because often times when trading agreements are made between rich and poor countries, the rich countries have the upper hand in that they have more of a say in the price then the individual farmers. If these farmers don’t agree to these prices the rich country can take their business elsewhere. Furthermore, even when allege fair trade agreements are made between rich and poor countries sometimes after production, the poor country realizes the cost of production was more than what they got out the trade deal leaving the poor countries and their farmers in a cycle of poverty and debt.