Video of Tony Payne speaking at the 2013 G8 Pre-Summit Conference

Tony Payne
Tony Payne

Following on from his recent SPERI Comment blogs on the issue, SPERI Director Tony Payne recently spoke out against the outdated terminology still used in the global development debate.

Speaking at the 2013 G8 Pre-Summit Conference at Queen’s Belfast University last week, Tony argued again that we are in fact all developing countries now, that the ‘north/south’ and ‘developed/developing countries’ terminology is outdated and unhelpful. He stressed that there is now no firm way to distinguish between developing and developed countries; instead this distinction is nothing but a convenient fiction and simplification of a complicated world.

He also argued that the G8 can actually do very little for development and ‘cannot make poverty history’, stating that despite what package of measures we might fantasise about the leaders making, any commitments are simply a tokenistic gesture and a convenient political rhetoric.

However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. He ended his talk by stating that this does not actually matter, the ‘south’s’ future does not depend on the ‘north’ anymore. Tony recently blogged for the UN Human Development Report Office on their latest report ‘The Rise of the South’. Although he dislikes the terminology used in the title of the paper, he does not quibble with the story this report tells.

You can watch the full video below; Tony begins to speak at approximately 22.28 minutes in. Also on the panel is Stefan Andreasson and John Barry (both of Queen’s Belfast University), Brendan O’Leary (University of Pennsylvania/Queen’s University Belfast) and Paul Collier (University of Oxford).

Watch the video