Development aid: The moral obligation to innovation [Book Review]

The prominent, though not exclusive, role of basic needs strategies to attain ethically acceptable development goals raises the question of the ability of development agencies to find and employ basic needs strategies. The obligation to prevent severe human suffering leads to the obligation to employ basic needs strategies to attain basic needs goals. The history of failure by development agencies in finding and employing basic needs tools leads to a further obligation to cultivate bureaucratic environments which foster profound innovation. This requires not only new tools but also new bureaucratic behaviour. An understandable obstacle to simultaneously technological and bureaucratic innovation lies in the tension between responsible behaviour and behaviour promoting fundamental change. Since this tension is based on the unpredictability of creative change, a series of axioms and corollaries which reduce the unpredictability is given. They include: (1) an obligation to seek innovation; (2) a clear statement of basic needs goals and intent to use some basic needs tools; (3) increase in effective knowledge of the poor and their survival strategies; (4) bureaucratic learning flexibility; (5) participatory development and allied emphasis on sustainable resource technologies. The embodiment of these in the learning process approach is illustrated.
Keywords innovation  basic needs  development failure  learning process approach  bureaucratic reorientation
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DOI 10.1007/BF02229145
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