After Developmentalism and Globalization, What?

Keynote address at conference, "Development Challenges for the 21st Century," Cornell University, Oct. 1, 2004.

In 1900, in preparation for the Exposition Universelle in Paris, the French Ministry of Colonies asked Camille Guy, the head of its geographical service, to produce a book entitled Les colonies françaises: la mise en valeur de notre domaine coloniale. A literal translation of mise en valeur is “making into value.” The dictionary, however, translates “mise en valeur” as “development.” At the time, this expression was preferred, when talking about economic phenomena in the colonies, to the perfectly acceptable French word, “développement.” If one then goes to Les Usuels de Robert: Dictionnaire des Expressions et Locutions figurées (1979) to learn more about the meaning of the expression “mettre en valeur,” one finds the -explanation that it is used as a metaphor meaning “to exploit, draw profit from.”

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