Since the 1990s, most bilateral and supranational donor agencies have been pursuing “good governance” as their priority development policy. Yet, in their own evaluation, the speed of progress of this gargantuan governance project has remained unsatisfactory. The purpose of this paper is to examine the causes of this slow progress by scrutinizing its conceptual foundation.
The analytical approach of this paper is purely speculative, which is occasionally supported by real world data and socio‐political evidences. Since the paper uses Governance for Sustainable Human Development – A UNDP Policy Document as the ruling reference material, the paper has been so titled.
First, defining governance as a process misrepresents its problematic nature, which is primarily political and therefore diverts world attention from its root‐causes. Second, governance literature treats the state and government as synonymous and by that confuses their political nature. Finally, the paper assigns an all‐impressing role to civil society organizations (CSOs) in promoting good governance in the developing world. However, experience shows that they are deeply involved in the creation and continuation of poor governance in the developing country.
Humankind now lives in a global village divided into territorially demarcated political units. Accordingly, the peace and prosperity of the global village critically depend upon how democratically each of member state is governed. Good governance in turn hinges on politically trained intelligent and ethical individuals running public administration. The analytical opinions of the paper underline this notion.
The paper shows that the ongoing development discourse on good governance revolves around a faulty conceptual foundation. By reviewing the major ideas of the governance paradigm, it clarifies the conceptual connections between political theories and democratic governance.
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