Theories of development and social change most often seek to trace a continuity to the era of antiquity, presumably to show its centrality to the ‘human condition’ and its universal relevance. It is often submerged within an overarching teleological concept of ‘progress’ that colours all aspects of the theory and its application. For us, following Foucault, the pursuit of origins is necessarily essentialist. The critical discourse, or genealogical, approach we adopt needs to be set in the context of complexity, too often elided in both mainstream and oppositional development theory. With the social world becoming more complex and elusive, our research approach has to itself become more nuanced and not be reduced to the study of discrete hierarchical entities. Our approach to development needs to be adequate for ‘a world that enacts itself to produce unpredictable and non-linear flows and more mobile subjectivities’, as Law and Urry argue.
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G. Honor Fagan and Ronaldo Munck
A Constitutional Political Economy Approach
John M. Mbaku
Peter A.G. van Bergeijk and Rolph van der Hoeven
Peter van Bergeijk and Rolph van der Hoeven discuss the design and development of the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs) and their strengths and weaknesses. Based on the findings in this edited volume they point out persistent high and/or growing national inequality in different regions in the world. The absence of any concern for inequality in the predecessors of the SDGs, the Millennium Development Goals was a great omission as reducing income inequality is one of the most important challenges countries are facing. Although the SDGs contain a goal to reduce inequality (goal 10) the target related to this goal is wholly insufficient as it relates only to progress of the bottom 40 per cent of the population. There is no sensible indicator to attest the growing importance of the growing cleavage between income of work and income of capital and the income of super rich (the top-1 per cent) which manifest themselves in much more visible form in emerging and in developed countries. The authors argues that concern for income inequality should receive far greater attention in the implementation of the SDGs