Development and Nation-Building: A Framework for Policy-Oriented Inquiry

We use the term “development” to refer to decision processes and decision outcomes which have been designed to induce the shaping and sharing of all values within and among territorial communities in ways with consequences approximating the goal values of a world order of human dignity. The component of purposive direction toward these postulated goal values distinguishes development from social change more generally. Social change, it will be noted, is an ineluctable feature of social process, for all actors are constantly seeking to change parts of the social process with the aim of making it discriminate in their favor. Hence social change is of no intrinsic interest to the policy-oriented approach to development. Development, in contrast, implies specific scope values with respect to which strategies for securing selective changes are invented and against which change-flows in decision structures and in the production and distribution of values are constantly evaluated. Thus, from a policy-oriented perspective, not all change is considered to be development; changes incompatible with human dignity can be characterized as retrogressions or as “disdevelopmental.”

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