The Development Set -- by Ross Coggins

The Development Set -- by Ross Coggins


This brilliant piece is taken from "Adult Education and Development"
September 1976. It was penned by Ross Coggins. I have not been able to
track down a copy of the original publication nor the author, so I am
using the piece here under the educational use exemption in copyright



The Development Set
by Ross Coggins
"Adult Education and Development" September 1976


Excuse me, friends, I must catch my jet
I'm off to join the Development Set;
My bags are packed, and I've had all my shots
I have traveller's checks and pills for the trots!


     The Development Set is bright and noble
     Our thoughts are deep and our vision global;
     Although we move with the better classes
     Our thoughts are always with the masses.


In Sheraton Hotels in scattered nations
We damn multi-national corporations;
injustice seems easy to protest
In such seething hotbeds of social rest.


     We discuss malnutrition over steaks
     And plan hunger talks during coffee breaks.
     Whether Asian floods or African drought,
     We face each issue with open mouth.


We bring in consultants whose circumlocution
Raises difficulties for every solution --
Thus guaranteeing continued good eating
By showing the need for another meeting.


     The language of the Development Set
     Stretches the English alphabet;
     We use swell words like "epigenetic"
     "Micro", "macro", and "logarithmetic"


It pleasures us to be esoteric --
It's so intellectually atmospheric!
And although establishments may be unmoved,
Our vocabularies are much improved.


     When the talk gets deep and you're feeling numb,
     You can keep your shame to a minimum:
     To show that you, too, are intelligent
     Smugly ask, "Is it really development?"


Or say, "That's fine in practice, but don't you see:
It doesn't work out in theory!"
A few may find this incomprehensible,
But most will admire you as deep and sensible.


     Development set homes are extremely chic,
     Full of carvings, curios, and draped with batik.
     Eye-level photographs subtly assure
     That your host is at home with the great and the poor.


Enough of these verses - on with the mission!
Our task is as broad as the human condition!
Just pray god the biblical promise is true:
The poor ye shall always have with you.