Listen to the big corporations appropriating the development lingo and using it to enhance their business:
"Mary Vizoso, head of fruit and vegetable buying at Waitrose, said although some of the farming methods endorsed by the scheme were becoming well known in the UK, in developing countries they were often groundbreaking.
"This scheme will make an enormous difference to the long term future of farming communities," she said.
"Many communities in the developing world rely on trade in fruit and vegetables for their livelihoods.
"That is why we are working at grass roots level to raise environmental standards on farms and plantations around the world through widespread adoption of the Leaf marque scheme.""
With small gestures like these, they offer us the conscience white wash we all need to justify going to the supermarket instead of buying from local producers and strengthening the local supply chains. Meanwhile, they proceed with their other business in the usual, exploitative manner (see many previous posts). Of course, it has been argued that one should not be cynical, and that sincere efforts deserved to be given a chance, and that the consumer should ask for fully transparent means of ensuring the truth of those claims. There was a leader's comment in the latest (April 27-May 3) Guardian Weekly to that effect. I only have a print issue, it's on p 11. I'll post it if I can find it.
It is our fault (development practitioners) if our vocabulary has been hijacked by big corporations. We have used it and abused it for our own self interest, so much that it has become devoid of any true meanings. Words like "sustainability" "grass roots" or "local community" have been used and abused in so many different contexts by ourselves that they have become meaningless. And, of course, we have become guns for hire by large corporations, who have used us to give themselves credibility and "social responsibility". Why did we accept? A Jordanian-Chechen friend told me a story dating back to the Azeri-Armenian war over Nagorno-Karabach. The Azeris and the Armenians were passing time during a cease fire by hurling obscenities at each others across the front lines. The Azeris were cursing in Azeri and the the Armenians in Armenian. Then, all of a sudden, insults in Chechen started coming from the Armenian side. The Azeris engaged conversation with the Chechen voice and one of them asked: "How can you fight with the Armenian infidels against your Muslim brothers?" The Chechen replied: "They pay in dollars". So do the large corporations. (This story is only told for illustration purposes. I do NOT identify the Armenians with the corporate world and the Azeris with the downtrodden).
"Mercenaries are useless
They have nothing left to keep them in a battle
Other than a meagre wage
Which is just enough to want to kill for you
But not enough to want to die for you"
John Cale "Ready for War" from the album "Sabotage", mid seventies