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Promoting Democratic Values to Prevent Democratic Backsliding

Promoting Democratic Values to Prevent Democratic Backsliding people in the street holding signs

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, democracy was under threat. That threat continues. Around the world, the repression of peaceful protests, the use of extra-constitutional measures against periodic and free elections, the troubling reality of unequal protection under the law, and much more have come to characterize the severe negligence of core democratic practices, threatening the […]

The Importance of the Female Perspective

The Importance of the Female Perspective A woman in a suit talks to journalists in front of flags

As many nations across the world strive towards democratic development, the gap between the number of male and female politicians continues to plague the globe. Out of 193 countries, just 22 have a female head of state and countries that boast equality in their national cabinet is limited to 13 (Vogelstein & Bro, 2021). In […]

Ethical leadership for Africa’s Agriculture Development

Ethical leadership for Africa’s Agriculture Development An Afrian woman inspects plants growing in a high-density indoor facility

In a crisis, people call out for strong, ethical leadership. The world is now dealing with the decisions that leaders have made that have led to deep inequities in accessing the COVID-19 vaccines. Leaders from high income countries acted quickly to galvanize scientific energies and resources for vaccine development but have acted unethically in hindering […]

USAID: Owning the Moral Agenda in the Global Pandemic Response

USAID: Owning the Moral Agenda in the Global Pandemic Response doctor and patient review paperwork

Globally, and especially in the least affluent countries in the world, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to push the demand for moral clarity in decision-making to ever higher standards of transparency and accountability. Within international relief and development policy and practice, ethical concerns become much more difficult to tackle when multiple demands are placed on limited […]

What is “development ethics”?

What is “development ethics”? people gather around a table

Each area of practice generates important ethical questions about priorities and procedures, rights and responsibilities. This holds true also for work in local, national and international development. ‘Development ethics’ can be understood then as discussion of the many and varied ethical questions that arise in development work. It is a field comparable to business ethics, […]

Pandemic Changes, from Routines to Values

Pandemic Changes, from Routines to Values a section of the globe with lines coming out of it

The sociologist David Freeman, professor at Colorado State University, described in his book Technology and Society (1976) the four stages in the introduction of new technologies in daily life, both in the production of goods and services and in the consumption thereof.  His description of these stages can also be used to explain what happens […]

Development is not a Device

Development is not a Device a woman points at a wall of post-it notes

As I so often tell my students, every country is a developing country; every society hosts communities of struggle.  If we understand development as beneficial social change, it transforms our understanding of who is part of this effort and how it operates. Too often we define development by the form in which aid is delivered—foreign […]

More than a Reckoning: Still Crying Out for Change in Foreign Aid

More than a Reckoning: Still Crying Out for Change in Foreign Aid logos of the world bank, peace corps, imf, and several others

A vibrant exchange of views is now taking place in Washington, DC, home to the largest concentration of people, firms, non-profits, and other institutions engaged in what we have come to view as the “international development industry”. With the upcoming Senate hearings on the nomination of former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power […]

David A. Crocker: Human development should be guided by norms and values

David A. Crocker: Human development should be guided by norms and values a dictionary page with the word Ethics highlighted

This piece first appeared in the joint ISC-UNDP project Rethinking Human Development, 2020. You have worked for many years on the ethical dimensions of development and know very well the trajectory of the capabilities approach. How do you think we should rethink the concept of human development in the current context? I believe that the current […]

Libertarian Choice, Moral Relativism, or Social Obligation: The World of COVID-19

Libertarian Choice, Moral Relativism, or Social Obligation: The World of COVID-19 two women in masks wait to cross the street

Over the past couple of months, the world has been thrown into an unprecedented situation unlike any circumstance we have ever encountered. While our daily lifestyles have been altered in unimaginable ways, we are increasingly aware that reconciling our lost sense of normalcy in society depends upon our adherence to safety guidelines and protocols. Though […]