Eugenio Magdalena
3 min readJun 20, 2019


They had the right intentions, but …

The Public Toilets of Katmandu (Nepal).

The streets of Katmandu. Photo:

One afternoon, a group of German expats tired of seeing the locals release themselves on the streets of Katmandu, the capital of Nepal, and even more tired and fed-up with the nauseating odor, which had invaded the streets of the city center, decided to raise funds, back in Germany, to erect a building of public toilets in the city, so the Nepalese had a place to go and take care of their physiological needs, eradicating the insidious costume of using the streets for that purpose.

About six months later, the construction was finished and the Germans, very proud of themselves, and with great fanfare, proceeded to inaugurate the building of public toilets, expecting that the inauguration would put an end to the unhealthy habit of the locals (and to the foul odors as well!).

But a few weeks after the inauguration, the heartbroken Germans watched with dismay, how the locals continued with their annoying habit of using the streets to relieve themselves, only that now they did it under the cover of the walls of the building donated by the Germans!

The above should serve as a convincing argument, that underdevelopment is essentially a social problem — not an economic one — , contrary to common belief, as developed economies continue to dedicate enormous sums of money to combat underdevelopment, as only a puny quantity of those precious resources is dedicated exclusively to education.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary provides the following definition of underdeveloped:

having a relatively low economic level of industrial production and standard of living (as from lack of capital).”

Money flows but rarely hits the original target. Photo: YouTube

Please, notice that there isn’t the slightest allusion to education — or rather lack of it — in the definition of underdeveloped provided by the respectable, and well-known dictionary.

Of course, the benefits of education are intangible and only perceived in the long term, while a donated apartment or a rural new road, is not only needed but also perceived as a more valuable and immediate solution.

Unfortunately, a good deal of the donated resources which ought to be dedicated to combating poverty and underdevelopment, only actually serve to fatten the pockets of unscrupulous local politicians, hence denaturing their original, noble destiny.

No wonder then, that most dictatorships (of the right, because those of the left that we know, do not seem to even care!) seem to concentrate their efforts on building pharaonic public works, which can be perceived with the eyes, and remain in place for years.

Besides, educated people are perceived by dictators as trouble-makers, aren’t they?



Eugenio Magdalena

Eugenio is a disabled Economist (UCAB, Caracas), cursed a post-graduate Diploma in Marketing (Strathclyde University, Scotland, UK), and an MBA (England, UK).