Study Questions

This section contains questions for each session that you might want to consider as you progress through the course. 

SES # TOPICS Study Questions
1 Course Overview No Summaries
2 History: Colonialism and Imperialism What is the relationship between colonialism and development, in terms of institutional legacies, forms of representations and technologies of control? What is the correlation between colonial experience and economic development?
3 History: Ideas and Ideologies of Progress and Modernization Is progress a western notion, which emerged during the Enlightenment or, can we trace the concept to earlier times, and to non-western political/social formations? Is it universal? What are the differences between the concepts of progress, modernization, development and planning? How did these concepts originate? How are they connected? Do different development planning traditions draw on different aspects of the notion of Modernity? What is the relationship between 'tradition' and 'modernity' in international development?
4 Concepts: Pro versus Anti-Development What do we make of anti-development arguments? Are they utopian or nihilist or neither? Can one be anti-development and still plan? What are the justifications for planning? Or is the division between pro and anti too Manichean? Why certain types of anti-planning arguments emerged at certain times? What was the historical context in which these criticisms emerged? What explains the rise, fall and now the latest rise of anti-development arguments?
5 Concepts: The Question of Ethics Development Planners are often faced with having to compromise in reconciling demands from very different groups, and are exposed to (sometimes conflicting) sets of responsibility (e.g. personal, professional, authority). Within this context, what is an ethical compromise? What is the ethics of planners remaining "neutral"? What responsibility should influence their practice? What is the source of ethical values? What ethical framework governs a context of radical cultural pluralism, as in a Western planner working in non-Western countries?
6 Economic Development theories: Neoclassical and Dependency What do the economists say about economic development? Is planning necessary in their models? Are dependency theorists hostile to planning? Are there echoes of dependency theorists in current day criticisms of global governance institutions such as the WTO and the arguments for 'policy space'?
7 Economic Development Theories: State Intervention and the East Asian Miracle What is the neoliberal vision of the State? How does that differ from the role of the State in East Asia? What is the role of civil society or labor or democracy in the East Asian experience? What role, if any, does State intervention have in economic development theory? Consider this in the context of new institutionalist theories in the next class.
8 Economic Development Theories: New Institutionalism and Law What is the basis for the belief that law will lead to development? Is law a tool for development or is a development goal in itself? What is the meaning of institutions – can one unbundle them and if so, what is the role of law as an institution as opposed to other institutions, in development?
9 Alternative Development Theories: Human Rights and Development What is the added value of thinking about development as freedom? Will it help or hinder development planning? What is the relationship between the definition of development as freedom, and the move towards rights-based development planning? Who gets to exercise the right to development?
10 Development Theories Today in the Context of Global Crisis Does development have any core of agreed upon meaning today or has it become all-inclusive and therefore meaningless? How can one think of success in development terms today and which countries or communities would be role models? Is today's global crisis one created by too much markets or government or too little and if so what scale?
11 Actors: State What is the role of the State in development planning? Is the 'Third World State' expected to behave differently from the 'First World' State in its relation to industry, private sector, financial markets and social programs? What is the impact of globalization on the State? What distinguishes a State from other actors in planning?
12 Actors: Markets and Marketization How are market institutions different from the state? What do you need to know about market institutions if you want to work with them? How can you work jointly within different types of organizations and what are the challenges you might face by doing that? How does marketization — the process of creating markets — happen and what mistakes should it avoid?
13 Actors: Civil Society: NGOs and Social Movements There is no doubt about the mission of NGOs for promoting development. How good are NGOs as development agents? In what circumstances are they more effective as agents of development? What are their limitations? What is the role of other civil society actors in development such as social movements? What is the boundary of civil society as an actor in particular development contexts?
14 Actors: Informal Economy and Illegality Most poor people in developing countries – which means the majority – live in informal settlements which are also often illegal in many ways. How does informalization happen? What is the relationship between the informal and formal economy?Who plans for outcomes in informal economies? Is formalization — of tenure arrangements etc. — the answer?
15 Actors: Global Actors and Institutions What is the scale at which global institutions operate these days? What kinds of economic, legal, political and cultural resources do they deploy and from where, to effect development? What is a useful typology of global actors and institutions in development today? How does the 'development agenda' emerge from dominant global actors?
16 Multi-level Planning and Scale What is the role of power and legitimacy in multi-level planning? Is the State a site or an actor in multi-level planning? What is role of resources in multi-level planning? How do collaboration and resistance happen in multi-level planning efforts?
17 Key Issues: Governance of Complexity in a Globalized World What has been the impact of globalization on Planning Capacity of governments? In particular, are city planners more or less vulnerable to fluctuations in the global economy? How should local planners reap the benefits of globalization and protect against its adverse effects? What is the governance agenda and who is driving it? What is good governance and the stakes of introducing it in development planning? Is failure of governance a cause or consequence of globalization?
18 Key Issues: Urban-Rural Linkages and Tradeoffs What do we make of the urban bias thesis in development? Should countries focus more on linkages that strengthen urban or rural development? What's the impact of industrial growth on class formation and urbanization?
19 Key Issues: Migration and Development How is migration related to development? To what extent are remittances the "new development mantra"? What role can states play in promoting the migration-development nexus? How can a scalar approach help us in identifying the development impacts of transnational migration? How does a transnational optic help us understand and uncover the links between development and migration?
20 Key Issues: Participatory Development What are the ways in which participation can be achieved? What's the measure of participation and how must one judge it? Can the tension between participation as a goal and as a method be resolved and if so how? What were the structural factors that made participation such a key element in development strategies?
21 Key Issues: Corruption and Reform of Public Institutions Is corruption-free development ever possible? How does one understand claims of Asian distinctiveness about corruption – the 'grease the wheel' thesis – against the Asian successes in rooting out corruption as in Hong Kong? What does corruption signify about the State, its legitimacy and the ensemble of techniques through which development interventions occur?
22 Key Issues: Trade, Outsourcing, and Labor Standards Is openness to trade directly co-related to economic growth? What does the historical record say so far? Is the increasing shift to bilateral and regional trade arrangements compatible with the possibility of international trade, and with increasing commitment to labor rights? What do we make of the economic development strategies of emerging powers like China and India in terms of trade openness and commitment to labor standards? Who monitors labor standards?
23 Key Issues: Aid and Development Is aid necessary for development and should one make a distinction between short-term and long-term aid? Is Easterly overly dismissive of aid? And is Sachs guilty of the opposite sin besides being unrealistic in this economic climate? What does one make of the transformation of aid in the light of evolving security agendas – like counter-insurgency – and the centrality of development aid in those efforts? Is there a moral case for aid and if so what is it? How does one judge the effectiveness of aid?
24 Key Issues: Global Poverty How has development come to be associated popularly with poverty alleviation? What do we make of techniques of poverty alleviation such as microfinance, in terms of the theories of economic development? Is it possible to focus on poverty successfully in a global economy characterized by hyper-capitalism? Are the techniques for measuring poverty, and the goal-setting exercised like MDG, satisfactory?
25 Key Issues: Security and Post-Conflict Development and Review What is the nature of the relationship between development interventions before, during and after conflict, and the factors that drive conflict itself? Does the rise of new global powers like China portend a transformation of the development-security agenda as conventionally practiced? Does it make sense of push for more and more convergence of security and development?