A few decades ago, after the end of military dictatorship in Brazil, a Brazilian General exclaimeoL "Development has been very good for Brazil. But it has been very bad for the Brazilians".
This might seem quite surprising to many, but it should not be. Very often, in countries North and South, East and West, both economists and politicians are treating the economy as a big, lifeless machine, producing goods, services, and growth. Abstract economic indicators are supreme. This machine is operating under a set of rules, like resource allocation by market forces, the terms of trade, and the competition of self-interested economic actors. Under some conditions and over limited time periods such an approach can produce positive results, at least in the eyes of its propagandists. Growth might (or might not) result. But such a technocratic approach to economics, which generally is formulated from the perspective of the economic powerful, too often forgets the obvious: The Economy i5 not a lifeless machine, but a complex net of cooperation of human beings. The economy is made up of people, and any economist who loses sight of this obvious truth will never truly understand it, It should not be disputed that the economy should serve the people, not the people the economy, Producing bread, houses, means of transportation is not a purpose in itself, but a way to serve the needs of people. And an economy which does not do this successfully is devoid of sense, and does not serve its basic purpose. Successfully producing millions of items which are of no use while millions of people walk without shoes, are hungry and lack decent shelter is not an indication of economic strength, but of a society which lost its way.