A week ago I had a sudden surge of development optimism. It happened amidst our class discussions on what is wrong with poverty lines and micro credit. My argument was if the credit market doesn’t exist for people below poverty lines anyway what is wrong with MC creating it? At least some people are benefiting from it aren’t they? I surprised myself by even thinking along those lines. It’s been long since I lost faith in development as is practiced I felt as though I were was going back to the old days of development optimism, the innocent ‘I’ll change the world’ attitude. Yah, it seems so innocent when I think of those early enthusiastic dev days. Now it seems like it was only a fleeting thought.
I was just going through a reading on micro-credit which was heavily underlined by a friend. At a point where it reads ‘But despite the severe conditions faced by cyclone survivors, Yunus, who toured the area around Bilkis’s village to assess the damage, told the news agency that cancelling outstanding debt was impossible’ my friend comments ‘How Funny!’ I had a good laugh over it. My saner self how feels that the access to credit market might have been created but the supposed goal of alleviating poverty through MC is nonsense. The surge in MC occurred because there was a market to be tapped, profits to be made. Development optimists shouldn’t be swayed by ‘poverty reduction’ goal of MCs on paper.
On a different note: the GPE classes ended with Marx saying ‘I told you so’. There are few classes you are a part of that changes the way you see the world forever. It was one of those kind for me. The last time I was a part of such an intellectually disturbing/stimulating class was when we were taking a course on constitution making back in college. I think what makes professors unforgettable is their mastery of the basics of the subject they teach. The way they can leap from one school of thought to the other without confusing the audience and being objective to a certain degree. I don’t know if it goes against my own thoughts on subjectivity/objectivity but I believe given the setting in which we learn in our part of the world. Where we take professors as someone who knows more than us as ‘teachers’ not so much as facilitators it does make a difference. Though as students we can always infer the inclinations of our professors it is a very interesting experience to hear from someone who can deceive you into thinking s/he is Marxist one moment and a hardcore neo-classical in the other.
And I would like to know if there something as innocent like a ‘intellectual crush’ can exist in this complicated modern-day existence.As in you are just bowled over by someone’s mastery over the subject and it starts and ends in that Jehos, it was a great learning experience. Like all good things that come to an end it did too for better or for worse. I can finally take some delight in having come to study in Delhi!