Paradigm Shift in International Development

15201620846_50040e03baEditor’s note: Africa, our hat is off to you.

African leaders will be forgiven for not taking Europe and the U.S. up on their offer to share in the decline of the developed world. To call the Malthusian premise into question, we don’t need to prove that dramatic economic growth equals an immediate high standard of living for all; we simply must point to the emerging data and ask why this particular dogma is so immune to contrary evidence.

When anomalies become the norm, Thomas Kuhn might say, a paradigm shift is upon us. The old model of development in which children are seen as a threat to economic progress is rapidly being eclipsed by the success of demographically young nations whose leadership seeks to reward investment rather than to compete for handouts—handouts which always come with population control strings attached—from wealthy nations. This focus on stability and investment will be the source of sustainable growth for Africa’s future, and for the children that they may be grateful they are still having.

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