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Development ethics: how

can it be generative?

The need to analyse & learn from capitalism

Capitalism as a narrative
CA , welfare economics or capitalism, utility or interest?
Schumpeter, MAN-man relationship; Hirschman, Interest-Governed World
The central role of Interests
Simmel: money as measure and symbol
Problems in theory building that underpin the neglect of a generative
narrative approach
Three requirements for a generative narrative approach
New agendas for development ethics

Development ethics: a short introduction.

How does the process of development matter ethically?

How does the development engaged with values?

The concept of Development.
Examples of Arenas of reflections:
Inequality, environmental problem, lack of sensible outcome
by material affluent.

Stages of Development ethics and


three stages/arenas of development ethics:

sensitization, systematization, adaptation/application.

Many problematic consequences of capitalist

development, but limited impact of alternative
theories for development.

Predominance of capitalism; e.g., GDP growth

remaining as the lead performance criterion

The concept of development


ways have been suggested to

conceptualize development.

One of the most acceptable:- fulfilment of the

preconditions for whatever form of better life
decision-makers perceive [as appropriate]


does any of these ways provide a

notion of development as practically
effective/influential as capitalism does?

The concept of development - 2

Going beyond the normative adjective of reasonable, legitimate,

democratic, just, free, or so on.

Hybridizing restrictive contribution with capitalism

Need to rethink concept of development, as a generative

narrative concept.

The concept of development - 3

a generative narrative concept

Dynamic system of energy

The episodes of formation can be traced form starting point


The starting point demonstrate underlying human act which push

forward the system of energy.

Generating form of living

Sens Capability Approach

A value consiouse approach without any value theory,

Development as Freedom, expansition of capabilities

The Problem: generality and independence of the


Is CAs agendas can be fullfiled without any contentful

ideolgy for human well-being?

What matters most? - 1

To focus on welfare economics or on Capitalism?
To focus on utility or on Interests?

CA and critique of standard welfare economics

How does ideas, studies, reflections come into practice?


Rational utility


Values that
people have
reason to hold

How strong are

these lr links ?

Policy analysis,
policy making,
public action.

But also: the

institutions that
political life

What matters most? -2

Capitalism or welfare economics?
Interests or utility?


This primary direction of attention in Capability Approach,

to critique welfare economics, could be misleading.

The source of the power of Welfare economics.

The change in form of living depends on social

phenomena beyond the criteria used in evaluating.

What matters most ? - 3

Capitalism or welfare economics as focus?


Capitalism can be understood as a system of energy with

a narrative lead to create capabilities.

But in the Capability Approach the set of effective

opportunities in which the individual can realize his
functioning, the system of potentially available
commodities, is taken as given (Sen 1985:8)

The very process in which commodities are produced is


What matters most ? - 4

Capitalism or welfare economics as focus?


Development as a societally systemic change in form of living

leads us to emphasize the existence of social reality, beyond
subjective preferences, attitudes and even reasoning.

Similarly, development should be perceived as an expansion

from one zone to other zones: trickle-down effect.

In that frame, the CA is mainly restrictive rather than generative.


Capitalism as the generative approach

Creating capabilities
The concept and ethics of development


Capitalism as a generative system of

relations - 2
A generative approach:
1) considers the form of living or functionings, as its organic output
rather only as input or parameter;
2) the relations that led systematically to such an output;
3) the underlying behavior and value could be traced in the
narrative of how the outcome was/would be achieved.
The works of Hirschman, Schumpeter, and Simmel are insightful to unveil
underlying elements of narrative in capitalism. generative system of relations



Capitalisms narrative: Schumpeter

Capitalism is by nature a form or method of economic

change and not only never is but never can be
stationary (Schumpeter 2010: 82).

What prime mover keeps capitalism in motion?

Entrepreneurs are the prime mover. Their work requires

aptitudes that are present in only a small fraction of the
population and that define the entrepreneurial type as
well as the entrepreneurial function.

(1) MAN and man and (2)specific content of well-being


Capitalisms narrative: Hirschman

Hirschmans The Passions and the Interests,

on the genesis of capitalism,
Interest-Governed World.

[T]he expansion of commerce and industry in the 17th and 18th

centuries [was] welcomed and promoted not by some marginal
social groups, nor by an insurgent ideology, but by a current of
opinion that arose right in the center of the "power structure"
and the "establishment" of the time (p.129).

Capitalisms Narrative, Hirschman 3:

the concept of interests
The passions that most need bridling belong to the powerful, who are in a
position to do harm on a huge scale and were believed to be particularly well
endowed with passions in comparison to the lesser orders. As a result, the
most interesting applications of the [Passions-v.-Interests] thesis show how
the willfulness, the disastrous lust for glory, and, in general, the passionate
excesses of the powerful are curbed by the intereststheir own and those
of their subjects. (Hirschman: 1977: 70).
New meaning and role of the interests

Social relation of interests: (1) the direction of attention toward MAN rather
man (2) proposing a contentful type of well-being


The new role of interests (Money) in

cooperation (impersonal behavior), Simmel
Money becomes the symbol represents
the essence of modern life

[the person who] shuts away his

valuables from everyone else and who
does not even enjoy them himself, yet
watches most jealously over them,


Money comes to be the only good which
cannot decay
Incommensurability between the
wish and its fullfilement

deadly disappointment must


We know more about money than about any other object

because there is nothing to be known about money and so it
cannot hide anything from us. It is a thing absolutely lacking in
qualities and therefore cannot, as can even the most pitiful
object, conceal within itself any surprises or disappointments.
Whoever really and definitely only wants money is absolutely
safe from such experiences.



Money and the notion of God, Simmel

In reality, money in its psychological form, as the absolute means

and thus as the unifying point of innumerable sequences of
purposes, possesses a significant relationship to the notion of God
a relationship that only psychology, which has the privilege of
being unable to commit blasphemy, may disclose. The essence of
the notion of God is that all diversities and contradictions in the
world achieve a unity in him.

(1) the specific psychological content of action, (2) the

imposition of this content by social relation (social reality)

The interests-based society

Interest based capitalist society

And the dilemma of existence self-less and
altruistic behaviors in reality.



The following elements are what form the sequence and
causality of the inner dynamism of capitalism:

objectively identifiable path of

maximization ( the specific content of good)


strong hierarchy that can be flexible


contradictions into motion.


a) An objectively identifiable path of

maximization - 1

Simmel as the end rather than means, the absolute value

which does not have to fear being dissolved into something
relative (Simmel 1978: 256).

Money as an accumulatable entity able to satisfy the striving

for being maximized.

Cooperative behavior



b)A strong hierarchy that can be flexible

The structural dichotomy between MAN and man. MANman relations are master-subordinate relations.

The prerogative of capital is one feature of this reality, &

underlies todays essence of the corporation.

Three dimensions of conditional morality/behavior.

Capitalism represents the subordination/transformation of

Man-Man relations to Man-Commodity relations


c) Turning contradictions into motion.

Turning contradictions into motion: the miracle of

capitalism is to provide sustained systematic change in
the form of living.

Compare the competing lust for power in feudal or

monarchical structures leads to bloody wars, with
competition between rivalsMAN and MAN
capitalism in.

Problem in theory building that underpins the

neglect of a generative narrative approach in
development ethics -1

Separation: inside and outside people, serve insidepeople,

Famous example from the Capability Approach: a


Does the CA yet consider the petroleum-fuelled motor

vehicle and the societal systems that grew up around

Does the Capability Approach have ideas different

from trickle-down effect regarding expansion of new
capabilities by production?


Conclusions: Development ethics should define

and work on new agendas involving these issues:

a) Turning attention towards values that are imposed by the inner

dynamism of a system that steers development. So: What is the
role of development theory? Compare two procedures:

Evaluating policy analysis and policy design application

Idea/Ideology collective belief, representation, intentionality

creating facts (behavioral and institutional).

(b) The concept of agency within, not outside of, social reality. To
what extent can agency of a class of people be placed above social


Development ethics and new agendas

involving methodology and theory
(c) Hoe can poverty be resolved in a way other than via

(d) Central to understanding the impersonalinterdependency under the institution of money and