INAF-487 Poverty and Inequity: Practice and Ethics in Global Development
Fall for 2017-2018
International development programs aim to end world poverty, achieve human rights, and allow people to flourish in peace. The ideal that all human beings have the right to a modicum of justice and to a decent life takes on new meaning as deep inequalities and inequities in the world stare us in the face. Yet both the ends and ethics of international assistance are hotly debated. Is the goal prosperity or happiness? Outcomes or opportunity? Is it more about charity or rights? Who bears the responsibility? What can ensure sustainability, and how will we know if it is achieved? Is there a single path or “multiple modernities”? Who judges success or failure and by what authority? The year 2015 saw intensive discussion about these questions as the 2000 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were succeeded by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Climate risks took on a gritty new reality with changing weather patterns. Efforts to translate goals for human development into practical, benchmarked programs, for example to achieve universal access to quality education and health, are underway. Conflicts and natural disasters upend orderly development, encouraging sharpened focus on what human security entails. Never have the roles played by religious actors been so prominent in international affairs.
This seminar combines reflection about international development challenges, against this backdrop of global challenges and opportunities, with a pragmatic exploration of how development practitioners, and scholars contend with the issues in their daily work. It explores how policy choices are framed and applied and why the challenges of poverty and social justice are so significant today. Different approaches, ranging from security to political to moral to economic and to protection of the environment, are compared. Starting from the foundation of the human rights that have shaped the evolution and approach of much contemporary development thinking, the course explores what a rights based approach implies and its strengths and weaknesses. It thus addresses a wide range of development topics and controversies and the ethical challenges they pose.
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