Even more important is the fact that the market system inevitably brings about inappropriate development in the Third World, i.e., development of the wrong industries. It will lead to the development of the most profitable industries, as distinct from those that are most necessary or appropriate. As a result there has been much development of plantations and factories in the Third World that will produce things for local rich people or for export to rich countries. Many of their cities have freeways and international airports, but there is little or no development of the industries that are most needed by the poorest 80% of their people. The third World’s productive capacity, its land and labour, are drawn into producing for the benefit of others. This is most disturbing regarding export crops. In many poor and hungry countries most of the best land is growing crops to export to rich world supermarkets.
These are inevitable consequences of an economic system in which what it done is whatever is most profitable to the few who own capital, as distinct from what is most needed by people or their ecosystems. (See Note 2 for detailed discussion.) The Third World problem will never be solved as long as we allow these economic principles to determine development and to deliver most of the world's wealth to the rich.
Conventional economics basically defines development as economic growth. Thus what is developed is little more than whatever promises to maximise the profits of those who have capital to invest, i.e., transnational corporations and banks. These never invest in the production of the things most needed in the Third World, such as cheap basic food, clean water and housing. What their investment does is devote Third World land and labour to supplying rich world supermarkets and Third World elites. The large amount of productive capacity a poor country has is therefore applied to enriching others, or left idle.
Obviously it would be far better for people in Bangladesh who are paid 15c an hour to make shirts if they could put that time and energy into local farms and firms to produce basic necessities for themselves.
For these reasons, conventional Third World development can be seen as a form of legitimised plunder. ( Goldsmith, 1997, Chussudowsky, 1997, Rist, 1997, Swhwarz and Schwarz, 1998.) Our rich world affluence and comfort are built on massive global injustice.
We must recognise that the global economy functions as an empire which the rich countries run mostly for their own benefit, resorting to the use of power and repression to keep Third World countries to the sorts of policies the rich want. This is evident in the Structural Adjustment Policies and rules of the World Trade Organisation which enable rich world corporations to dominate Third World economies.