This brings me to the idea of cultural relativism. It seems easy (particularly in very interdisciplinary conversations) to talk about development in such an abstract way that we loose sight of the actual goal. Cultural and moral relativism applied to development would imply that one cannot say what sort of things are good or bad for a community, that these things are not universal.
I disagree with this notion. I think there are some basic elements that are universally (globally) good. Some examples: health care, having enough to eat, shelter, education, access to water. There may be some things to add to this list, but I'm sticking to the basics. Regardless of your culture, country, tribe, race, or age, I think human access to these elements is the goal of development.
Don't get me wrong here- the implications of culture are huge- and cultural differences have not been taken into account in development nearly enough (probably because most of the big shots in development have been strictly economists). However, I'm not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I'm sticking to the idea that international development can achieve good outcomes.