Perspectives of post-development | DAAD Climate Lecture Series
10 min.

On April 18, Professor Alberto Acosta, an economist and former Minister of Energy and Mines of Ecuador, delivered a lecture as part of the DAAD Climate Lecture Series titled "Perspectives of Post-Development". Throughout his presentation, Acosta addressed critical issues regarding development, the global crisis, and the necessary alternatives for a sustainable future.

Alberto Acosta
Alberto Acosta, former Minister of Mines and Energy, and former member of the Constituent Assembly of Ecuador. Source:

Professor Acosta opened his talk with a reflection on the concept of post-development and the multidimensional crisis the world is currently facing, advocating for an emancipatory and pluriversal approach. He emphasized the broken promises of development and modernity, highlighting the dehumanization and denaturalization that have led to economic, political, energy, food, and ethical crises.

He criticized the history and evolution of development, pointing out its problems and contradictions. He proposed seeking alternatives to conventional development, focusing on local experiences and community solutions that restore hope and provide meaningful responses to current issues. Acosta stressed the need to reorganize social relations and our relationship with nature, questioning the very idea of development.

Professor Acosta also defined post-development as moving beyond development as an organizing principle, criticizing the fetish of progress and advocating for learning from the past to avoid future mistakes. He promoted a pluriversal vision where multiple worlds and ways of understanding life coexist, rejecting universal visions of progress.

The professor recommended the book "Pluriverse: A Post-development Dictionary," which compiles contributions from 120 people worldwide, offering critical perspectives on development and concrete alternative proposals. Additionally, he highlighted the importance of respecting and learning from the worldviews of indigenous peoples and social and academic movements that criticize development.

Acosta called for a Copernican shift in accepting that we are part of nature, citing examples such as Ecuador's Constitution, which recognizes the rights of nature. He emphasized the need to build bridges between the Global South and the Global North, mentioning examples like Sarayaku in Ecuador, which offers an integrated and sustainable vision of life.

Acosta underscored the importance of resisting the co-optation of the concept of "good living" by institutions and governments, proposing a just energy transition and the creation of a "Great Ecological International" to foster solidarity and mutual support globally. He concluded his talk with a reflection on building democracy from the grassroots, proposing new forms of relationships between humans and nature to move towards a more sustainable and just future.

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