Category: Development Ethics

A Change to the Paradigm?

A Change to the Paradigm? Chloe Schwenke speaking at the 2017 conference of the Society for International Development in Washington, DC.

Is it simply the height of absurdity for a small, start-up non-profit organization called the Center for Values in International Development to think we might provoke a course-correction for a major federal agency? Almost certainly. Especially when this non-profit stands alone as the only organization of ethicists working in the international relief and development industry […]

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, […]

Self, Other, and Ethics of Care in International Development

Self, Other, and Ethics of Care in International Development arms and hands of several shades grasp each others' wrists

In my current research on international development, I’ve concluded that the feminist theorist and moral philosopher Serene J. Khader presents the most engaging, fresh, and thought-provoking perspective on the issues that international development practitioners face in their work[note]. According to her, such practitioners often engage, either knowingly or unknowingly, in what she terms “unjustified unconscious paternalism,” […]

Authentic Development

Authentic Development a wooden footpath in the woods

…[A]uthentic development must be integral in at least two ways. First, authentic development must be the development of the whole person, not just the narrowly understood development of economic growth or monetary income. …The second way in which integral human development is integral is less discussed yet more radical. It is the idea that authentic […]


All over the world people are struggling for lives that are worthy of their human dignity. Martha C. Nussbaum; Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach (2013) Economic growth, while a part of wise public policy, is just a part, and a mere instrument at that. It is people who matter ultimately; profits are only instrumental […]

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