Harman Patil (Editor)

Development ethics

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Development ethics is a field of enquiry that reflects on both the ends and the means of economic development. It typically takes a normative stance asking and answering questions about the nature of ethically desirable development, what ethics means for achieving development, and discusses various ethical dilemmas that the practice of development has led to. In short its aim is to ensure that value issues are an important part of the discourse of development.


Key themes

It typically looks at development theories and practice and their relationships with:

  • social justice
  • human rights
  • basic needs
  • A major focus of the literature is on the "ethics of the means". This involves asking about, not only how to realize the goals of development but also what are ethical limits in their pursuit.

    Denis Goulet, one of the founding fathers of the discipline argued in The Cruel Choice (1971) that Development ethics is useless unless it can be translated into public action. By public action is meant action taken by public authority, as well as actions taken by private agents by having important consequences for the life of the public community. The central question is: How can moral guidelines influence decisions of those who hold power?

    Prominent development ethicists

  • Denis Goulet
  • Gunnar Myrdal
  • Dudley Seers
  • Amartya Sen
  • David A. Crocker
  • Martha Nussbaum
  • Séverine Deneulin
  • Ingrid Robeyns
  • Jay Drydyk
  • Christine Koggel
  • Eric Palmer
  • Serene J. Khader
  • References

    Development ethics Wikipedia

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