The Political Economy of Infrastructure
In the Third World

(City and Regional Planning: CRP 679.10)

Ben Kohl
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York, USA

Spring 2000

(See below for Ben Kohl's Comments On Teaching This Course).

Course Description
This seminar explores the role infrastructure plays in economic and social development in the Third World. We first consider the role of infrastructure as a key component in attempts to promote international economic growth and social development. We then define a framework to examine infrastructure and consider the development and politics of four primary sectors: water, transportation, energy, and waste disposal. In addition, we briefly address communications. We question the assumptions planners and developers make during problem definition and project design and implementation within each sector. We also identify the social, economic, and environmental impacts of these projects. During the last third of the semester we examine case studies from the various sectors.

We read three books available at the campus store, in addition to a number of articles:
    Bruce Rich, Mortgaging the Earth: The World Bank, Environmental Impoverishment, and the Crisis of Development World Bank, World Development Report 1994: Infrastructure for Development Vivienne Bennett, The Politics of Water: Urban Protest, Gender, and Power in Monterrey, Mexico
I have placed a complete set of readings on reserve in the Fine Arts Library. You can get the readings for the first five weeks in a course packet at KC Copy. (All readings in the syllabus marked "*" are in the reader.)

During the second half of the semester we will primarily read materials you provide from your case studies.

Students will be required to attend and participate in class discussions. Each student will prepare an annotated bibliography or a literature review, a case study or research paper, and present a summary of their work to the class. Students will also participate in a midcourse review and final evaluation of the class and the class format.

The final grade will be based on the following criteria:

25%   Attendance and participation (including class reviews)
25%   Annotated bibliography or lit review
40%   Research paper or case study
10%   Case study or research presentation



Introduction: Infrastructure and Development

(Week 1, January 24 & 26)
Handout in class:
World Bank
"Overview" pp. 1-11 in World Development Report 1994: Infrastructure for Development, 1994
Turner, Steve and Todd Nachowitz,
"The Damming of Native Lands," pp. 473-7, The Nation, 10/21/91

The goals of development: reproduction, production, and extraction
* Berman, Marshall,
"Goethe’s Faust: The Tragedy of Development, Third Metamorphosis and Epilogue," pp. 60-86, in All That Is Solid Melts into Air, 1982
* Bottomore, Tom,
"Production," pp. 395-97, and "Reproduction," pp. 417-9, in Dictionary of Marxist Thought, 1983
* Bunker, Stephen,
Chapter 1, "Energy Values in Unequal Exchange and Uneven Development," pp. 20-57, in Underdeveloping the Amazon: Extraction, Unequal Exchange, and the Failure of the Modern State, 1985
* Frank, Andre Gunder,
"The Development of Underdevelopment," pp. 17-31, Monthly Review 18(4), 1966
* Peet, Ricard and Michael Watts,
"Liberation Ecology: Development, sustainability and Environment in an Age of Market Triumphalism, " pp. 1-45, in Liberation Ecologies: Environment, Development, Social Movements, 1996
Rich, Bruce,
Mortgaging the Earth: The World Bank, Environmental Impoverishment, and the Crisis of Development
    Chapter 1, "The Dwelling Place of Angels," pp. 1-24, Chapter 2, "Decade of Debacles," pp. 25- 48, and Chapter 8, "A Brief History of Modernity as Development," pp. 200-41, 1994
World Bank,
Chapter 1 "Infrastructure: Achievements," pp. 11-36, World Development Report 1994: Infrastructure for Development, 1994

(Week 2, January 31 & February 2)
* Kabeer, Naila,
Chapter 4, "Connecting, Extending, Reversing: Development from a Gender Perspective," pp. 69-94, in Reversed Realities Hierarchies in Development Thought, 1994
* McCully, Patrick,
Chapter 3, "Temples of Doom: The Human Consequences of Dams," pp. 65-100 in Silenced Rivers: The Ecology and Politics of Large Dams
* Moser, Carolyn,
"Gender Planning in the Third World: Meeting Practical and Strategic Gender Needs," pp. 1799-1825, World Development, 17(11)
* Paulson, Susan,
"No Land Stands Alone: Social and Environmental Interdependency in a Bolivian Watershed," in Annelies Zoomers, ed., Land and Sustainable Livelihood, forthcoming
* Sandercock, Leonie and Ann Forsyth,
"A Gender Agenda: New Directions for Planning Theory," pp. 49-59 APA Journal, 58(1), Winter 1992
* Sigaud, Lydia,
"Social Implications of the Electric Sector Policy," in Hydroelectric Dams on Brazil’s Xingu River and Indigenous Peoples

(Week 3, February 7 & 9)
World Bank, Development Report 1994
    Chapter 2, "Running Public Entities on Commercial Principles," pp. 37-51, Chapter 3, "Using Markets in Infrastructure Provision," pp. 52-72, Chapter 4, "Beyond Markets in Infrastructure," pp. 73-88, Chapter 5, "Financing Needed Investments," pp. 89-108, Chapter to 6, "Setting Priorities and Implementing Reform," pp. 109-22
    Chapter 3, "Brave New World at Bretton Woods," pp. 49-80, Chapter 4, "The Faustian Paradox of Robert McNamara," pp. 81-106, Chapter 5, "Greens Lay Siege to the Crystal Palace," pp. 107-148, Chapter 6, "The Emperor’s New Clothes," pp. 148-181, Chapter 7, "The Castle of Contradictions," pp. 182-99, & Chapter 9, "Who Shall Rule the World -- and How?" pp. 242-80

(Week 4, February 14 & 16)
* Baviskar, Amita,
Chapter 9, "The Politics of the Andolan," pp. 197-227, in The Belly of the River: Tribal Conflicts over Development in the Narmada Valley, 1995
Bennett, Vivienne,
The Politics of Water: Urban Protest, Gender, and Power in Monterrey, Mexico (special attention to chapters 4-6)
* Fisher, William,
"Megadevelopment, Environmentalism, and Resistance: The Institutional Context of Kayapó Indigenous Politics in Central Brazil," Human Organization, 53(3) 220-32
Chapter 10, "What on Earth is to be Done?" pp. 281-318

(Week 5, February 21 & 23)
(review chapters 1-3) pp. 3-66
Carney, Judith,
"Converting the Wetlands, Engendering the Environment: The Intersection of Gender with Agrarian Change in the Gambia," Economic Geography, 69(4) pp. 329-348
Crane, Randall,
"Water Markets, Market Reform and the Urban Poor: Results from Jakarta, Indonesia." World Development, 22(1) 71-83, 1994
Lynch, Barbara,
Bureaucratic Transition, "Politics of Normalcy, and the Gendering of Irrigation," photocopy
Ramamurthy, Priti,
"Rural women and irrigation: patriarchy, class, and the modernizing state in South India," pp. 103-126, in Carolyn Sachs, ed. Women Working in the Environment, 1997
Teixeira, Maria Gracinda C.,
Chapter 4, "The Tucuruí Dam in Context," pp. 181-252, in Energy Policy in Latin America
Urban Age,
Four short articles on water, Winter 1999, p 14-19 & 22
Wade, Robert,
"System of political and administrative corruption." Journal of Development Studies

(Week 6, February 28 & March 1)
Bryceson, Deborah F. and Howe, John. 1993.
"Rural Household Transport in Africa: Reducing the Burden on Women?" pp. 1715-1728, World Development, 21(11)
Bunker, Stephen, and Paul Ciccantell,
"Restructuring Space, Time, and Competitive Advantage in the Capitalist World-Economy: Japan and Raw Materials Transport after World War II," pp. 109-130, in David A. Smith and József Borocz, A New World Order? Global Transformations in the Late Twentieth Century
Daniere, A.G.
"Transportation Planning and Implementation in Cities of the Third World: the Case of Bangkok," pp. 25-45, Government and Policy Vol. 13(1), 1995
de Soto, Herando,
"Informal Transport," pp. 93-127, in The Other Path, 1989
Dimitriou, H.
Chapter 2, "Transport Problems of Third World Cities", pp. 50-84, in Transport for Third World Cities, 1990
Hilling, David,
Chapter 1, Transport and Development, pp. 1-37, in Transport in Developing Countries, 1996
Linder, Marc,
Chapter 5 "The Metropolitan State and the World Market," pp. 47-69, in Projecting Capitalism: A History of the Internationalization of the Construction Industry, 1994
Khosa, Meschack,
"Transport and popular struggles in Africa," pp. 167-88, Antipode 27(2) 1995
Rabinovitch, Jonas,
"Innovative land use and public transport policy: the Case of Curitiba, Brazil," pp. 51-67, Land Use Policy, Vol. 13, no. 1, 1996
Replogle, Michael,
"Improving Access for the Poor in Urban Areas," pp. 21-23, Appropriate Technology Vol. 20, No. 1, 1993
Saito, Fumihiko,
"A Continuing Role for Rickshaws in Dhaka, Bangladesh," pp. 281-293, Canadian Journal of Development Studies Vol. 14, No. 2, 1993
Vasconcellos, Eduardo,
"The Demand for Cars in Developing Countries," pp. 245-58, Transportation Research, 31(2)

Mid-course review
(Week 7, March 6 & 8)
Omarova, Saule,
"Oil, Pipelines, and the ‘Scramble for the Caspian’: Contextualizing the Politics of Oil in Post-Soviet Kazakstan and Azerbaijan," pp. 169-95 Paul Ciccantell and Stephen G. Bunker, in Space and Transport in the World-System, 1998
Rosa, Luíz Pinguelli and Roberto Schaeffer,
"Brazilian Energy Policy," pp. 52-68 in Ayer do O. Santo, Leinad and Lúcia M.M. de Andrade, Hydroelectric Dams on Brazil’s Xingu River and Indigenous Peoples
Urey, Gwendolyn Hume,
"The Political Economy of New Investment in Telephone Systems in Developing Countries," Ph.D. Thesis, Cornell University, 1995

(Week 8, March 13 & 15)
Altaf, Mir Anjum and Deshazo, J.R,
"Household demand for Improved Solid Waste Management: A Case Study of Gujranwala, Pakistan," World Development, 24(2) 1996
Bartone, Carl R.,
"Institutional and Management Approaches to Solid Waste Disposal in Large Metropolitan Area," pp. 525-536, Waste Management & Research, 9
Bartone, Carl,
"Environmental , Challenge in Third World Cities," Journal of the American Planning Association, 57(4)
de Lemos, Maria Carmen,
"The Politics of Pollution Control in Brazil: State Actors and Social Movements Cleaning up Cubatao." World Development, 26(1), 1998
Bolay, Jean-Claude, Cartoux, Antonio Cunha et al.
"Sustainable Development and Urban Growth: Precarious Habitat and Water Management in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam," pp. 185-197, in Habitat International (21)2: 1997.
Furedy, Christine,
"Garbage: exploring non-conventional options in Asian cities." Environment and Urbanization, 4(2)
Journal of Infrastructure Planning and Management
Sicular, Daniel T.,
"Pockets of Peasants in Indonesian Cities: The Case of Scavengers," pp. 137-161, World Development 19(2/3) 1991
Sanches, Manuel,
"Poverty and Pollution in Guanabara Bay: The Role of International Finance," photocopy, 1997

(March 17-27)
All projects and case studies should be approved before break.

(Weeks 9 to 13)
Readings to be assigned.

Annotated bibliographies with copies of the readings must be approved and on reserve one week before you present your case.

(Week 9, March 27 & 29)

(Week 10, April 3 & 5)

(Week 11, April 10 & 12)

(Week 12, April 17 & 19)

(Week 13, April 24 & 26)

(Week 14, May 1 & 3)

Comments by Ben Kohl On Teaching This Course
This course is offered as part of the graduate program in City and Regional Planning and targets students in the International Studies in Planning stream. The course was designed to help students understand the political, economic, and social context for development projects. It attracts 12-18 students with international interests from Planning, Rural and Development Sociology, and Anthropology and is offered alternate years.

As a teacher, I hope that students will come away from the course understanding that the creation of physical infrastructure is a political process and that the technical decisions that planners make have social and political consequences. I have structured the course to encourage students to examine the distribution of benefits of any proposed development or infrastructure project. During the second half of the semester students, in groups of two or three, take responsibility for organizing a class, which includes selecting and presenting the readings. Planning students have used the course to provide the theoretical foundation upon which to build their masters research projects.

Syllabus prepared 14 October 2001 for H-Urban Teaching Center.

Syllabus copyright 2000 Ben Kohl. All rights reserved.
Permission to copy and use under "fair use" in education is granted,
provided proper credit is given.

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