A Good Life for All

The “Right Development” Approach

Following last week’s post that critiqued the history of the development industry, I’d like to propose an alternative model of development, which emerged from my research on the Santi Asoke Buddhist Reform movement of Thailand. After studying for a year what made Asoke communities so successful, I determined that in order to raise the quality […]

A Setting for Wellbeing: Srisa Asoke Buddhist Center

The places people live, whether by choice or circumstance, can offer clues as to who those people are, and an intentional community like the Srisa Asoke Buddhist Center speaks volumes about its residents. This post introduces Srisa Asoke and the people who live there.  Isan Srisa Asoke is located roughly fifty kilometers from the Cambodian […]

Economic Growth, SAPs, and Aid: Oh My! A History of the Global Development Industry

The concept of development implies positive change, and it is clearly an ideal toward which individuals, groups, and nations strive. But the term carries much more baggage than that. The Western world’s conceptualization of development—unilinear growth, evolution, or maturation toward an ever more perfect form—has its roots in evolutionary theories of the nineteenth and early […]

Sufficiency Economy versus the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach

I recently contributed a chapter to a volume exploring Sufficiency Economy (SE), in which I endeavored to refine SE as a development approach for sustainable livelihoods and community empowerment. To do so, I compared SE to the Sustainable Livelihood Approach (SLA), a framework put forth by the British Department for International Development (DFID) in the […]

Measuring Wellbeing: Exploring Alternatives to GDP

With the GDP turning 80, this year is sure to bring fruitful discussions on alternatives that will better measure wellbeing. These discussions are already happening, not just on the fringes of public discourse but in initiatives sponsored by world leaders in government and premier global organizations like the United Nations (UN) and the Organization for […]

Global Volunteer: Ethnography of a Tsunami Aid Organization in Thailand

The tsunami of December 26, 2004 swept away entire villages in Khao Lak, Thailand: houses, fishing boats, family businesses, shrimp farms, livestock, vegetable gardens, and people. Those who survived faced the seemingly insurmountable work of rebuilding their lives, but they didn’t have to do it alone. Volunteers from across Thailand and across the globe poured […]