Journal of International Development

Cover image for Vol. 29 Issue 1

Edited By: Paul Mosley

Impact Factor: 0.659

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2015: 46/55 (Planning & Development)

Online ISSN: 1099-1328

JID Virtual Issues

We are please to present Virtual Issues from JID on the following themes:

Andrew Fischer and Uma Kothari
August 2011

Geof Wood, Uma Kothari and Andrew Fischer
August 2010


Resilience in an Unequal Capitalist World - FREE ONLINE
Andrew Fischer and Uma Kothari
August 2011

This Journal of International Development (JID) Virtual Issue has been designed to coincide with the EADI-DSA conference in September 2011 on the theme of “Rethinking Development in an Age of Scarcity and Uncertainty: New Values, Voices and Alliances for Increased Resilience” The papers in this special issue have been selected from past issues of the Journal, dating from 2000 to 2010, on the subject of resilience. We chose to highlight the theme of resilience as one of the sub-themes of the EADI-DSA conference in September 2011 on “Rethinking Development in an Age of Scarcity and Uncertainty: New Values, Voices and Alliances for Increased Resilience”. In particular, this subtheme carries a close connection with the dominant conference themes of scarcity and uncertainty. Moreover, all three themes need to be conceived as relative concepts within the context of contemporary capitalism – that is, they are relative to the constant systemic creation and reproduction of scarcity and uncertainty within capitalist systems, in the face of which understandings and forms of resilience need to be similarly contextualised. View the full introduction.

Vulnerability, Capacity and Resilience: Perspectives for Climate and Development Policy
J.C. Gaillard (2010)

Coping Strategies in Developed and Developing Societies: The Workings of the Informal Economy
Madeleine Leonard (2000)

Livelihood Diversification: Increasing in Importance or Increasingly Recognized? Evidence From Southern Ethiopia
Grace Carswell (2002)

Poor Children Grow Into Poor Adults’: Harmful Mechanisms or Over-Deterministic Theory?
Shahin Yaqub (2002)

Age and Empowerment Amongst Slum Dwelling Women in Hyderabad
Haleh Afshar and Fatima Alikhan (2002)

Does Inequality Cause Conflict?
Christopher Cramer (2003)

The Political Economy of Malaysian Federalism: Economic Development, Public Policy and Conflict Containment
Jomo K. S. and Wee Chong Hui (2003)

Institutionalising Ethnic Representation: How Effective is Affirmative Action in Nigeria?
Abdul Raufu Mustapha (2009)

Failures of The State Failure Debate: Evidence from the Somali Territories
Tobias Hagmann and Markus V. Hoehne (2009)

Drivers of Development Over the Next 30 Years: Some Speculations
John Harriss (2009)

War without End? Magic, Propaganda and the Hidden Functions of Counter-Terror
David Keen (2005)


Development Paths: Values, Ethics and Morality
Geof Wood, Uma Kothari and Andrew Fischer
August 2010

This Journal of International Development Virtual Issue has been designed to coincide with the DSA conference in November 2010.The papers have been selected from past issues of the Journal and presented as an electronic volume to support the present debates around issues of values, ethics and morality in development. Our selection exercise revealed to us that the theme of the 2010 conference is long overdue. As an applied academic community we have devoted only limited attention in our journals to more fundamental questions of ‘values’, yet development raises all the philosophical issues which have challenged thinkers since ancient Greece, the Vedas, Confucius and beyond. Perhaps one explanation for this relative neglect is the hegemony of the European Enlightenment which has overpowered our discourse and guided investment resources via planning and aid. In the post 2nd World War era of de-colonisation, the richer industrial and post-industrial world has been on a purported mission to replicate its own paths of development in erstwhile and continuing dependencies, whether via economic planning, human capital investment, or support for democratic political practices underpinned by good governance. Progress has been measured by industrial transformation of agrarian and pastoral societies, poverty reduction through trickle down economic growth, political freedoms and social liberalism, and above all the rise of neo-liberal capitalism. The themes of inequality and injustice have preoccupied a sub-set of development intellectuals.

Perhaps the most important mainstreaming of these themes has come from the contributions of Amartya Sen. But there have also been ‘alternative’ movements, especially those concerned with sustainability and environmental deterioration, and also among those concerned with relative values and diversity rather than universal definitions of needs and wants. Some of these alternative contributions have appeared less in journals and more in discursive books and other media outside our JID Virtual Issue brief and, hence, are not represented here. Rather, some of the papers brought together here reflect the significance of Sen’s presentation of development as freedom. For example, Alkire and Black (1997), in ‘A Practical Reasoning Theory of Development Ethics’, review the work of Martha Nussbaum as building on Sen’s capability arguments with a clearer, less open-ended commitment to desirable functionings. This is developed in a comparative review by Gasper (1997), from the same 1997 volume, entitled ‘Sen’s Capability Approach and Nussbaum’s Capability Ethics’.

However, the three of us involved in this selection of articles were wary of this Issue revolving solely around the work of Sen and Nussbaum, since both are operating firmly within the Enlightenment paradigm albeit while seeking to re-align the dominance of economic variables towards themes of freedom and capability. There are other concerns, partially captured by other authors selected here. Moellendorf (2009), for example, offers a powerful and accessible comparison of global inequalities in ‘Global Inequality and Injustice’. Raiser (1997) addresses the theme of the conference directly in ‘Destruction, Diversity, Dialogue: Notes of the Ethics of Development’, referring to the dilemma embodied in celebrating diversity of practices alongside a sense of universal moral responsibility. A similar dilemma can be linked to Allen and Steyn (2000), ‘Right to Interfere? Bernard Kouchner and the New Humanitarians’, in which the principles of sovereignty clash with the humanitarian motives to intervene on behalf of oppressed peoples—so relevant to our current wars and conflicts, whether in Africa, the Middle East or Western Asia. Stephen Chan is addressing the conference in a plenary session, and from his ‘End of Certainty’, he clearly respects Kouchner’s thinking. Beall et al (2006), in an introductory article on ‘The Discourse of Terrorism, Security and Development’ for a special issue on the same topic, look at the other side of interventionism by examining the increasing interlinking of international development policy with security concerns, especially since the declaration of the United States led ‘War on Terror’ and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. They argue that, although not new, this reinvigorated security focus could be damaging for both the project of global poverty reduction and global security if it becomes the North’s central guiding principle for development in the South. Indeed, the evangelical undertones often evoked in the US ‘War on Terror’ discourse are related to another article by Plant (2009). He also addresses a conference theme in ‘International Development and Belief in Progress’ through an exploration of the fit between development ideas and Christian (i.e. Catholic) theology, especially in the realms of agency and freedoms. Interestingly, he discusses the uncomfortable balance between the Enlightenment Paradigm that is implicit in the former, versus the pre-Enlightment understanding of progress that is enshrined in the latter.

And let us also be clear, ethics is not only about objectives and ends but is strongly about means and process. Thus, we have included a paper on research ethics – a concern to us all: ‘Conducting Health-related Social Science Research in Low Income Settings: Ethical Dilemmas’ by Molyneux et al (2009). Also included is the introduction by Thomas (2000) to a JID Policy Arena ‘Development Management—Values and Partnerships’, in which he indicates the ethical complexity of designing and implementing policy across different cultures and social settings—again who has what rights? A parallel theme is taken up by Mowles (2007) in ‘Promises of Transformation: Just how different are international development NGOs?’ He offers a critical assessment of a growing convergence between development INGOs and private sector organisations in the way that values are taken up as an instrument used by managers to exercise control without appearing to do so, as part of a broader trend in the increased marketisation and professionalisation of development assistance. This provides an alternative understanding of values as a profoundly social phenomenon requiring reflection and negotiation with others.

We have been excited by the opportunity to revisit these papers across the last 14 years of JID and we hope you can see how they serve as a timely reminder of our collective need to reflect upon the underlying ethics of various development paths, the rise of relative values and plural cosmologies, and the questioning of capitalist orthodoxy as the solution to the planet’s problems and the sustainable lives of its peoples. In our view, history has definitely not ended. We all need some time and space to ponder the significance of western hegemony in retreat.


A practical reasoning theory of development ethhics: furthering the capabilities approach
Sabina Alkire and Rufus Black

Sen's capability approach and Nussbaum's capabilities ethic
Des Gasper

A right to interfere? Bernard Kouchner and the new humanitarianism
Tim Allen, and David Styan

International development and belief in progress
Stephen J. Plant

Conducting health-related social science research in low income settings: ethical dilemmas faced in Kenya and South Africa
Catherine Molyneux, Jane Goudge, Steve Russell, Jane Chuma, Tebogo Gumede, Lucy Gilson

Global inequality and injustice
Darrel Moellendorf

Destruction, diversity, dialogue: Notes on the ethics of development
Martin Raiser

Development as practice in a liberal capitalist world
Alan Thomas

Introductory article: on the discourse of terrorism, security and development
Jo Beall, Thomas Goodfellow, James Putzel

Promises of transformation: just how different are international development NGOs?
Chris Mowles