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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 […]

Islamophobia – Tearing Down Walls of Prejudice

Islamophobia – Tearing Down Walls of Prejudice an arched doorway in Morocco with children's silhouettes lit up at the end of the hallway

I was in 8th grade when a friend first mentioned “the geopolitical quagmire that is the Middle East”. You’d think that the most confusing part of that phrase was “geopolitical quagmire” but, in all honesty, I wasn’t even sure which countries were considered “the Middle East”. At that time, I never could have guessed that […]

Civil war meets COVID-19: Cameroon as a case study in deterioration and chaos

Civil war meets COVID-19: Cameroon as a case study in deterioration and chaos a yellow single-story building behind green bushes

Just as it is our moral duty to join the global collaborative efforts to eradicate COVID-19, it is also our moral duty to ensure our fellow human beings have access to peace, education, jobs, housing, and the basic requirement for human dignity. That may be our moral duty, yet we all know that millions of […]

The Distant Spring: Philosophy and Social Innovation

The Distant Spring: Philosophy and Social Innovation a wooden door with a window. on the window is taped a rainbow drawn in crayon

Eight variations for thinking about social innovation and sustainability transitions during the coronavirus crisis In response to the harm done to birds by the widespread use of pesticides, Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring (1962). Her account of the “silencing of the birds” helped motivate a flock of social innovation via the emerging environmental movement. Spring 2020 has […]

Pompeo’s new Human Rights Commission is up to no good

Pompeo’s new Human Rights Commission is up to no good Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Human Rights Commission’s Report To our readers, The State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights is about to release its report, and the indications are not positive for anyone concerned about universal human dignity. We therefore thought it would be appropriate to post (with permission) this article by the ACLU from last January. Pompeo’s New […]

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