This website is a companion to the book The Violence of Development, by Martin Mowforth. The book examines the failure of ‘development’ in Central America, where despite billions of dollars of development funding and positive indicators of economic growth, poverty remains entrenched and violence endemic. The book illustrates how development is predicated on force and systematic violence, through which the world’s most powerful governments, financial institutions and companies control the global south. The analysis in The Violence of Development comes from many development project case studies and scores of interviews with a range of people in Central America, including nuns, politicians, NGO representatives, trade unionists, indigenous leaders, human rights defenders among many others.

In order to gain approval for the publication of the book, the work had to be cut down from well over 200,000 words to 100,000. The solution to this problem of lost material came in the creation of this website. The website follows the same chapter structure as the book, but the website chapters do not include linking text between all the illustrative material. Instead, each website chapter is composed of stand-alone figures, tables, text boxes, maps, cartoons, diagrams and photographs. Whilst these items stand alone, they are all included on the website because in a variety of ways they support the text of the corresponding book chapter.

Two extra chapters appear on the website: one chapter to cover a range of issues which are not fully covered elsewhere in the book; and another chapter to include transcriptions and translations of all the interviews which were conducted in Central America during the two periods of funded research in 2009 and 2010. Both Spanish and English transcriptions and translations are included. Interviews conducted since 2010 are also included in the Interviews page of the website.

The website allows us to add in more recent material and to keep the issues and case studies up-to-date.  The book remains the principal means of presenting and discussing the principal arguments and issues associated with the social and economic development of Central America. The website simply provides illustrative and supplementary evidence in support of the points made in the book.

Readers of the book and visitors to the website are welcome to join in the debates around many of the issues and case studies covered in both media. This can be done by sending comments via the contact page.

We wish to make it clear that we invite contributions from readers who disagree with the opinions expressed  in the book and the website. Despite the fact that some of the views outlined in both book and website are contentious, we accept the fact that many of the issues discussed have no hard and undeniable solutions. We wish to promote genuine debate about these solutions and the policies required to implement them. We do, however, reserve the right to reject abusive comments.

In the case of commentators who would like to add a contributory case study to the website, or to contribute a lengthy comment on one of the issues covered, please send such articles via the contact page. Where appropriate, illustrative material would also be very welcome.

Martin Mowforth

Doug Specht