For decades, the Arab states have seemed exceptions to the laws of politics and human nature. While liberty expanded in many parts of the globe, these nations were left behind, their 'freedom deficit' signaling the political underdevelopment that accompanied many other economic and social maladies.
The goals of development are always and everywhere stated in terms of consumer value packages standardized around the North Atlantic-and therefore always and everywhere imply more privileges for a few... Underdevelopment is the result of a state of mind common to both socialist and capitalist countries. Present development goals are neither desirable nor reasonable. Unfortunately antiimperialism is no antidote.
This points to a nagging and important question about free-market ideologues: Are they 'true believers', driven by ideology and faith that free markets will cure underdevelopment, as is often asserted, or do the ideas and theories frequently serve as an elaborate rationale to allow people to act on unfettered greed while still invoking an altruistic motive?
Side by side with the miseries of underdevelopment...we find ourselves up against a form of superdevelopment, equally inadmissable. This superdevelopment consists in an excessive availability of material goods for the benefit of certain social groups and makes people slaves of "possession" and immediate gratification, with no other horizon than the multiplication or continual replacement of the things already owned with others still better. This is the civilization of consumption, or "consumerism," which involves so much throwing away and waste.
Pope John Paul II
In a way, underdevelopment is a paradox. Many parts of the world that are naturally rich are actually poor and parts that are not so well off in wealth of soil and sun-soil are enjoying the highest standards of living. When the capitalists from the developed parts of the world try to explain this paradox, they often make it sound as though there is something 'God-given' about the situation. One bourgeois economist, in a book on development, accepted that the comparative statistics of the world today show a gap that is much larger than it was before. By his own admission, the gap between the developed and underdeveloped countries has increased by at least 15 to 20 times over the last 150 years. However, the bourgeois economist in question does not give a historical explanation, nor does he consider that there is a relationship of exploitation which allowed capitalist parasites to grow fat and impoverished the dependencies. Instead he puts forward a biblical explanation! Pg. 21