Development programs geared to support the interests of the elite result in uneven or erratic rural development. Since most people in developing countries reside in the countryside, uneven development stunts the growth of a sizeable and dependable domestic market. This concentration of economic and political power is thus forced to look for foreign markets to realize their objectives.
But an export-driven economy is placed at the mercy of predatory international economic forces. Industrialization at the expense of agriculture often results in the importation of very expensive machineries and other capital goods. Conventional economic planners resort to heavy foreign borrowing to afford alien technologies. This ultimately leads to a large debt burden and the devaluation of the borrowing country’s currency. The debt service payments start competing with critical social services and rural development.
The fruits of conventional development, therefore, benefit only a very small segment of society. Mass poverty is thus perpetuated. When the poor mobilize to protect their interests, de facto civil war — and more disaster — result. … In the meantime, the poor are forced to eke out a marginal existence in fragile ecosystems and disease-causing urban squatter areas. Their poverty also forces them to find economic and social security through an increase in the number of children per family. Eventually, through economic pressure, the impoverished citizens destroy the foundations of their livelihood.
— Nicanor Perlas, “Toward a Structural Concept of Disasters,” Ginhawa: Well-being in the Aftermath of Disasters