The development ethics approach to international development

Nikos Astroulakis (Department of Economics, University of Crete, Crete, Greece)

International Journal of Development Issues

ISSN: 1446-8956

Publication date: 20 September 2011



Development ethics is an important topic which is often neglected in development studies. The purpose of the paper is to analyze international development in an ethical‐based context using the approach of development ethics.


The analysis is mainly based on the pioneering work of the prominent development ethicists and the founder of development ethics as self‐conscious area – Denis Goulet – along with recent development ethics literature. In this context, international development is approached under a holistic ethical manner.


Development ethicists reduce the gap between a conventional perspective of development and the real needs of humankind. In contrast to mainstream economics view, for development ethics the true indicator of development is not growth in a narrow sense of material expansion of wellbeing, but the qualitative enrichment of human beings in all relevant aspects of human life. International development is preserved as an effort to a better life for individuals and to a good global society for nations.

Research limitations/implications

If research is reported on in the paper, this section must be completed and should include suggestions for future research and any identified limitations in the research process.

Social implications

The proposed ethical goals and strategies are normative judgments which provide both the notional and practical framework within which international development should be discussed and policy recommendations could be formulated.


The notion of development is redefined on ethical foundations. A conceptual typology of the development ethics goals and strategies to international development is offered. The paper can be perceived as a point of departure that scholars and students of international development and development economics in broad, from both perspectives (orthodox and heterodox), can be incorporated with ethical matters to international development and benefit from it.



Astroulakis, N. (2011), "The development ethics approach to international development", International Journal of Development Issues, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 214-232.

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