New School Professor Sanjay Reddy and are publishing our paper on global goals today. We raise some basic conceptual questions regarding global development goals: Why have them at all? What function, if any, might they serve, and under what conditions could they do so successfully? Based on our answers to these questions, we identify serious inadequacies in the contemporary approach to development goals and relate these to weaknesses in how the goals were conceived and formulated. Despite these failings, higher-level goals may play a useful role if the practical approach to them is embedded in a holistic and integrated vision of a better world. Focusing on goals rather than targets opens needed space for flexibility, innovation, and fuller democratic accountability.