The Dutch government wants to reassess its International Development Policy, after critical reports revealed the failure of several development projects in developing countries. The development process is very hard to control, says Professor Van Dusseldorp of Sociology. The goals of the projects are often unrealistic, which puts counterparts under pressure to work too quickly, thus denying them an opportunity to benefit from the learning process, which should occur. One has to develop clear conditions, responds Professor of Economics Kuyvenhoven. If the macro-economic context - currency exchange, inflation - is wrong, the project will fail. In a country like Zaire, notorious for its bad policy, we cannot operate effectively.
WAU's professor in Agrarian History, Ad van der Woude, will present an extensive handbook next week about the development and deadlock of the Dutch economy during the Golden Age, the 17th century. Together with his colleague Jan de Vries (of the University of California, Berkeley, USA), van der Woude gathered geographical and economic data for this period. Their conclusion is that Holland was the first country in the world which established modern economic growth. Peat, water and wind were the main energy sources; the staples market in Amsterdam was at the centre of European trade, and the Dutch East India Company distributed products worldwide. A debt crisis of the Dutch republic - its kingdom was established later - was at the heart of its deadlock after 1650.
WAU celebrates its 77th birthday next Thursday on March 9th. Molecular physicist Professor Schaafsma will elaborate on the usage of plants for the production of sustainable energy. His speech has some striking similarities with that given by plant physiologist Professor Van Gulik in 1920! The latter brought up the question of the possibility of using plants for energy production. Schaafsma is now working on the practical application of this same subject. Topics covered by nearly all the speakers over the past 77 years have included cooperation, the need for synthesis and to accept explanations from other sciences, but only a few have made fundamentally critical remarks about the scientific mainstream at WAU.
WAU's University Council accepted the general outlines of the Board's Masterplan last week, but may want to change where the inevitable cutbacks in education, science and organisational overhead are to be made. The budget for the central office should be cut by an extra million guilders, in order to save on the educational programmes, says part of the Council. The Board is opposing the idea; the central office budget will already be cut by more than was expected.