Values and Ethics in Development

In preparing a policy and planning for development in Pakistan, it was considered necessary to take into account the role of values and ethics. In this context, I was asked to prepare a chapter for the Vision 2025, which is a ten year plan for the future of Pakistan. I am attaching a draft which I prepared upon this topic:


How do ethics and values relate to development? Our goal in this note is to demonstrate the central importance of these subjective and normative concepts to design of suitable development policies. Although these ideas are now gaining currency, for the most part mainstream economists have not taken them on board. Resistance to change is due to many reasons, one of which is the idea that science is concerned purely with the objective and the positive. Even though it was widely believed throughout the twentieth century, the idea that the positive and the normative can be clearly and sharply separated has been decisively rejected. For instance, Hilary Putnam has shown that facts and values can be inextricably entangled. Thus, theories which consider only the positive are seriously deficient. The first section below shows how a single minded focus on economic growth has led to our ignoring many other vital dimensions of development. Subsequently we arguing that evaluating costs and benefits of growth requires the introduction of values and ethics into the development discourse. An explicit consideration of values leads to many types of policies not currently within the ambit of development planners. This creates out-of-the-box solutions, which are desperately needed in current times.

The above is the first paragaph. The whole paper can be downloaded from HERE.


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