Development discussions often seek “answers” to “how to develop?” But to whom do we tell the answers? We assume the existence of someone who can take our answers and turn them into actual Development. Let’s call this person “Bob,” as in the following diagram:
But who is Bob? Of course, many autocrats would happily volunteer to be “Bob,” and many development experts show some sympathy for such a “benevolent” autocrat. Indeed the whole Bob theory of development seems to imply coercion of everyone else at several points along the way, as illustrated below. So Bobism is a great ideology to justify autocracy. But is the deprivation of freedom “worth it”? Who gets to decide? And even if autocrats like Bob were OK, Bob faces many other problems going from experts to the development outcome, as further illustrated below. So, frankly, the “guy named Bob” theory of Development is not really very satisfying.