The Routledge Handbook of Development Ethics provides readers with insight into the central questions of development ethics, the main approaches to answering them, and areas for future research. Over the past seventy years, it has been argued and increasingly accepted that worthwhile development cannot be reduced to economic growth. Rather, a number of other goals must be realised:

• Enhancement of people's well-being

• Equitable sharing in benefits of development

• Empowerment to participate freely in development

• Environmental sustainability

• Promotion of human rights

• Promotion of cultural freedom, consistent with human rights

• Responsible conduct, including integrity over corruption

Agreement that these are essential goals has also been accompanied by disagreements about how to conceptualize or apply them in different cases or contexts. Using these seven goals as an organizing principle, this handbook presents different approaches to achieving each one, drawing on academic literature, policy documents and practitioner experience.

This international and multi-disciplinary handbook will be of great interest to development policy makers and program workers, students and scholars in development studies, public policy, international studies, applied ethics and other related disciplines.

chapter 1|13 pages


What is development ethics?

part I|37 pages


chapter 2|12 pages

Global ethics

Development ethics as global ethics

chapter 3|6 pages

Integral human development

Development of every person and of the whole person

chapter 4|6 pages


No development is good development

chapter 5|11 pages


Epistemic injustice and distortion in development theory and practice

part II|48 pages


chapter 6|13 pages


Happiness, desires, goods, and needs

chapter 7|16 pages

The capability approach

Ethics and socio-economic development

chapter 8|9 pages


Using subjective well-being metrics to gauge development

chapter 9|8 pages

Adaptive preferences

Accounting for deflated expectations

part III|68 pages

Social and global justice

chapter 10|13 pages

Social and global justice

Models of development and theories of justice

chapter 11|18 pages


Feminist insights on inequality in development

chapter 12|14 pages

Indigenous peoples

Self-determination, decolonization, and indigenous philosophies

chapter 13|8 pages

Horizontal inequalities

Individual capabilities and inequalities between groups

chapter 14|6 pages


Intergenerational transmission of poverty and inequality

chapter 15|7 pages


Social gradients and unjust health outcomes

part IV|37 pages

Empowerment and agency

chapter 16|12 pages


Participatory development and the problem of cooptation

chapter 17|5 pages


Expanding choice through democratic processes

chapter 18|12 pages


Worthwhile education for ethical human development

chapter 19|6 pages


Land acquisition and disempowerment

part V|41 pages

Environmental sustainability

chapter 20|17 pages

Sustainability and climate change

Human development and human responsibilities

chapter 21|8 pages

Food production

Food security and agricultural development

chapter 22|14 pages

Buen vivir and the rights of nature

Alternative visions of development

part VI|48 pages

Human rights

chapter 23|15 pages

Human rights

Shaping development ethics, pragmatics, law, policy and politics

chapter 24|15 pages

The right to development

Ethical development as a human right

chapter 25|16 pages


Building security through peace and reconciliation

part VII|34 pages

Cultural freedom

chapter 26|11 pages

Cultural freedom

Worthwhile development for a diverse world

chapter 27|10 pages

LGBTI people

“Being LGBTI” in international development

chapter 28|11 pages


Religious contributions to development issues

part VIII|36 pages


chapter 29|13 pages

International responsibilities

From utility and humanitarianism to global justice

chapter 30|7 pages

Development practitioners

Absent in the deliberative discourse on development ethics

chapter 31|14 pages


Concepts, costs, causes and challenges

part IX|57 pages

Regional perspectives

chapter 32|7 pages

Latin America

Inequality provoking critical thought

chapter 33|6 pages

South Asia

Environmental concerns and human rights violations

chapter 34|5 pages

East Asia

Challenges to political rights

chapter 35|7 pages

Middle East and North Africa

The Arab Spring as a political expression of ethical issues

chapter 36|7 pages

French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa

From buying and selling loyalty to demanding democracy

chapter 37|6 pages

Sub-Saharan Africa

Development ethics and post-colonial debate

chapter 38|9 pages


European development ethics – past and present

chapter 39|8 pages

USA and Canada

High-income maldevelopment