The Evolution and Current Debate in Development Thinking

When development economics emerged as an independent field in the post-1945 years, the answer to the question what the makings of development are was rather simple: Development equals GNP growth.

On following current discussions in politics and business but also in much of academia, one suspects that after nearly six decades of development studies – with rich and varied outputs – we are back to square one: the achievement of economic growth as a development target is omnipresent and any other issue only seems to play a subordinate role. In this paper you can read what this means for the lives of the vast majority of the world’s population living in underdeveloped economies and join me on a historic excursion into the evolution of development thinking.