Virtually all contemporary development strategies stress the importance of participation by working people in both policy formation and the benefits of economic growth. Development requires .capital formation for investment in the social and economic infrastructures. Unless development investments involve mass organization, representing broad social strata, they tend to benefit only a minority of landed, administrative, or merchant capital elites. The result is an uneven pattern of development throughout the country and very often, declining standards of living for the poor majority. Moreover, numerous studies show that "top-down" programs for involving peasants in local organizations and investment projects have rarely provided a solution to the crisis of underdevelopment.

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Copyright © 1985 Westview Press. This chapter first appeared in Public Participation in Development Planning and Management: Cases from Africa and Asia.

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