Past Event


The Global Development Crisis and the Possibilities of Labour-Centred Development

13 March 2014 17:00–18:30

Room 221, Institute of Development Studies

The central paradox of the contemporary world is the simultaneous presence of wealth on an unprecedented scale, and mass poverty. Liberal theory explains the relationship between capitalism and poverty as one based around the dichotomy of inclusion (into capitalism) vs exclusion (from capitalism).

Within this discourse, the global capitalist system is portrayed as a sphere of economic dynamism and as a source of developmental opportunities for less developed countries and their populations. Development policy should, therefore, seek to integrate the poor into the global capitalist system.

In this lecture Benjamin Selwyn will challenge this way of thinking. In contrast to much development thinking, which portrays ‘the poor’ as reliant upon benign assistance, Dr Selwyn will advocates the concept of labour-centred development. Here ‘the poor’ are the global labouring classes, and their own collective actions and struggles constitute the basis of an alternative form of non-elitist, bottom-up human development.

About the speaker

Benjamin Selwyn is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Development Studies, in the department of International Relations at the University of Sussex. He is the author of The Global Development Crisis (Polity: 2014) and Workers, State and Development in Brazil: Powers of Labour, Chains of Value. (Manchester University Press: 2012).

Read more from Ben Selwyn on this issue in his recent blog

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