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Critical Synthesis Essay Case Solution

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The concept of Community Economic Development or CED is an emerging idea in the world of modern economies. This is so because considering the rapidly increasing competition between the economies across the globe; it is becoming progressively important for nations to think about inclusive growth and ponder upon how all the levels in their community can nurture at a steady and compatible rate (Connolly, 2003). Before studying this course, my understanding about CED was very limited, and it won’t be wrong to say that it was not anywhere near where it is today. The course gave me a broader perspective of what CED is all about and helped me understand its role in our daily lives and the future of countries.

As Bhattacharyya (2004) reported in his work that community development is all about fostering three major components in the society including self-help, felt need and participation, I strongly agree with the idea and feel that these three features, if properly inculcated in a society can form a solid structure for future growth and pave the way for a more constructive economy. This essay is based on the analysis of how the course has changed and improved my views on community development and how my understanding and assumptions about the idea have transformed during the learning process.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution

  1. Introduction    

  2. Concept of CED    

  3. Context and Practice    

  4. CED Activity in China    

  5. Social Capital, Development and Reflection    

  6. CED and Innovation    

  7. Conclusion    

Case Analysis for Critical Synthesis Essay

2. Concept of CED

Before the course started, I had a limited knowledge of the idea of CED. The maximum exposure that I had to this notion was whenever I used to hear about it on the television occasionally or skimmed through an article about CED or social growth. However, the impression always fascinated me as it sounded like it can address some of the biggest challenges that the contemporary economies are facing right now. After the course, I realized that CED could ensure that all the units of an economy are playing their best part in the overall growth of the economy and the development is continued for a long-term (Shaw, 2008).

One thing that I would like to mention here is that CED and community growth are more rigorous notations than I used to think. As Bhattacharyya (2004) also reports solidarity to be an imperative element related to the communities we talk about in community economic development. He says that it does not matter whether a community is a village, town or a metropolitan city; it is still a community. This argument changed the way I used to think about communities because before the course; my perception was that growth and development are different for different types of communities. For instance, growth has a different meaning for a small town than it has for a big city. But the idea helped me realize that growth is the same for all sorts of communities and it should be considered as the same process.

One of the assumptions that I had established about community development is that this is something that the governing body of a community works on to ensure that the community fosters in economic and social terms. However, after the course, this assumption was replaced by the idea that community members play a major role in this development. As Cavye (2016) narrates in his work that community members help the process grow faster and these members are the ones that manage the change in their neighborhood.

3. Context and Practice

The context of community development and the span where it is practiced are much wider than I usually used to think. As Boothroyd & Davis, (1993) reports three major approaches to CED in his paper, he argued that since the economic recession of 1981-1982, CED achieved increasing attention because it was considered to be a proven method to foster economic growth and promote the living standards of people. The three approaches of CED including growth promotion, structural change, and communalization were mind blogging for me as I could not think that CED can work in all of these dimensions. The facts that community development is widely contextual and applicable in the economies for their growth, structural change and communalization are certainly worth noticing.

In my perspective, economic growth was a one-dimensional concept that grows only in the dimension of how the markets make progress. However, this course provided me with more background and helped me understand that CED is not just about the economy; it also includes the attitudes of people and the social aspects that underline the process. For instance, Born, Barbara, & Torjman (2002) regarded CED as a combination of activities that are focused to ensure that the community revives and renews its strategies effectively. This is something that inspired me because I believe that the renewal of strategies and policy instruments is certainly capable of transforming economies and paving the way for long-term advancement in many fields including economy, politics, society and culture.

Considering the ways CED works that I studied during the course, I developed this approach that it is a process of growth of communities that comes from within. CED seems to be a process of inside-out growth instead of outside-in progress that some communities believe in. Prahalad & Staurt (2002) narrated in their study that an inclusive approach to capitalism is more probable to ensure a steady growth of companies that seek a larger share and market opportunities. I also believe that in practice, an inclusiveness that CED promotes plays a noteworthy character in the growth of not only larger economies but companies and firms as well.

4. CED Activity in China

To get a practical view and exposure of how CED works in a real-life context, I analyzed a case of CED activity taking place in China. With its rapidly growing economy and fast-paced urbanization, China is taking several steps to ensure that its community development is progressive and steady and steps are taken to promote the economic, social, cultural, environmental, and political aspects in the country. One of the most interesting examples that I found was the township and community enterprises development in the area of Sunan in China. Sunan Yugur is an autonomous county in China with the population of about 36,000 people. The locality is further divided into three sub-areas (Xiaogushan Hydro Power Company Ltd., 2004). 

Sunan area is a project focused to address the socioeconomic challenges in China, and this project has helped control the rapid population growth in the countryside. Additionally, the cultural and material lives of the citizens have also improved to a major magnitude. The main factor that ensures that the area is involved in community development is to keep the industrial production the main source of income for a majority of the population. On the other hand, farmers are also quite active in the capacity. These two sectors guarantee that the subsistent and advance levels of production go hand in hand in the locality (Huange, 1993). 

While studying the Sunan area, I realized that it follows the three rules presented by Bhattacharyya (2004) including self-help, felt need, and participation. This is so because the people of this zone are focused to participate in the economic and social development of the area while the senses of self-help and felt need are also ensured. Before exploring this case, I didn’t have the opportunity to explore how CED is practically accomplished in the real world. This case of CED is a clear example of how people living in integrated communities make communal and intelligent decisions that ensure that quality growth of the community can be collective. 

5. Social Capital, Development and Reflection

Development, as it is also a part of the term CED, holds a crucial role in the sustainable growth of communities and I believe that without ensuring steady growth and development, communities don’t have any chance to compete in the current economies. Before the course, it was difficult for me to engage the ideas of development to social capital as it was a vague approach for me. But after the course, I am pretty clear about how social capital can foster community growth and I strongly support the tools and instruments that promote social capital. Arrow (1999) reported that social capital is not only a necessary concept for economist; sociologists and political scientists can also use this idea to form their policies in a community. After getting to know the concept, I also believe that social capital is a practically broader idea that applies to wider communities.

In the case of China’s Sunan area, social capital and community economic development are clearly promoting self-reflection. This is necessary because self-reflection ensures that the progress of a community is properly monitored to ensure growth. Cope (2003) analyzed this concept in the context of entrepreneurship. It was reported that learning and self-reflection of entrepreneurs are some useful ways to improve their business performance. The case of China imitates self-reflection because the economy is already getting enough pressure due to its population, and with the help of the community development, the country is making sure that every unit of the population actively participates in the development of economic and social capital (Porter & Kramer, 2006).  

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