Understanding Impoverishment: The Consequences of Development-Induced Displacement

By Christopher McDowell | Go to book overview

10
State Power as a Medium
of Impoverishment
THE CASE OF THE
PANTABANGAN DAM RESETTLEMENT
IN THE PHILIPPINES

Susan D. Tamondong-Helin


Introduction

O ver the years many countries have adopted the dominant paradigm for development, that of industrialisation leading towards economic progress. As discussed elsewhere in this volume, since 1984 an estimated ninety million people in the world have been displaced from their homes and traditional lands as a result of major infrastructural development projects. This number is still expected to rise as the world continues to industrialise. Dam construction as an example, for purposes of generating electricity, irrigation and water supply, has become a common strategy for modernisation. In the pursuit of better living conditions, governments continue to construct dams for their people.1 However, does the quality of life improve for the displaced population?

Involuntary resettlement is a consequence of dam construction and of other infrastructural projects. On average, three hundred large dams are constructed every year, causing the displacement of

____________________
1
Dam construction, like many large-scale development programmes aimed to accelerate economic growth, are usually funded by international banks providing loans at commercial interest rates.

-169-

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