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.
On August 28th 2015, Professor Sanjay Reddy and I published an op-ed on the Financial Times blog, BeyondBrics. In the op-ed we discuss the purpose of global development goals, as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are about to be adopted. Read a slightly extended version on Sanjay Reddy’s blog.
Collin Constantine (SOAS) and I have recently published a book review of Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson’s (2001) famous ‘Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty.’ Our paper finds significant flaws in the methodology employed by Acemoglu et al., for example with the proxies used for wealth in 1500, with the oversimplified historical framework it relies on, and with their idea of ‘institutions’. We argue that attributing successful development to private property rights obscures the complexity of development processes through history and that Acemoglu et al.’s understanding of ‘good institutions’ fails to capture the type of institutions that existed in the now advanced countries when they were developing.
Read the complete review in the 7th edition of The New School Economic Review (open access).