Epilogue: Immaterial Conditions matter for Sustainable Development

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


Asia is a continent we are far from understanding, despite that continent is rapidly moving towards the centre stage in international affairs. It is fair to admit, though, that we are far from understanding not only the Asian experience, but development as such, including its material, quantifiable dimension, ¬as summarized in the numbers of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). There is a somewhat trivial test of how hard it is to understand development: the repeated use of the expression “miracle” to characterize sustained growth experiences. Hence, the urgency to explore the non-material determinants of material growth. In the early days of Economics as a western science, development – even in its narrow sense – used to be about the «bettering of the human conditions», in Adam Smith’s words; hence, a distinctively human process. I am convinced we need to go back to that intuition, which was soon lost in the subsequent, most widely accepted, streams of western economics thinking, dealing with ‘market’ and ‘state’ as alternative governance mechanisms. Facing the challenge of global development requires taking distance from that technocratic paradigm and moving toward a humanistic approach to economic matters, where persons and societies are at the centre of the analytical endeavour.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChallenges of development: Asian perspectives
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • culture
  • development
  • ethics


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