Volume published in association with ECLA.
To what extent are social actors — national governments, social groups, development agency "experts", the market — able to impose value-oriented rationality on processes of historical change in the name of development? In this thoughtful book, Marshall Wolfe explores what has been said and done in the name of development over four decades. He sees development work as a "Sisyphean task" of trying to impose rationality on realities shaped by social actors who are neither benevolent nor consistently rational.
The author examines competing views of what development can mean; he explores the quest for a unified approach; the roles of states and societies as agents of development; the practical difficulties of making poverty a central issue for development policy; and the implications of recent issues, such as environmental concerns, for the development agenda. The volume nicely complements Wolfe's other recent book, with Matthias Stiefel, entitled A Voice for the Excluded, published by UNRISD and Zed Books in 1994.