Challenging Global Inequality

Development theory and practice in the 21st century

by Alastair Greig, David Hulme, and Mark Turner

Chapter by chapter resources - Chapter 11

Review Questions

  • What are the key problems encountered in trying to define development?
  • What case can be mounted that suggests development has been, on the whole, a success?
  • What arguments can be advanced against the case that development has been a success?
  • Where do individualist and structuralist positions line up in the case for and against the success of development?
  • Why don’t labels such as ‘left’ and ‘right’ help us much in determining whether an author considers development a success or failure?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the following metaphors for development?:

    development-as-growth and abundance
    development as sustainability
    development as security
    development as illusion
    development as lodestar
    development as freedom
  • Under what conditions, if any, might development lead to the substantial narrowing of inequalities?
  • Can national equality be achieved through the poorer countries aspiring to reach the level of development of the richer countries?
  • Are contemporary wealthy nations dependent on the extraction of wealth from poorer nations?
  • Do the actions of the wealthy governments make the global community poorer?
  • Is a focus on inequality rather than absolute poverty a reflection of the politics of envy?
  • Does inequality curtail the possibility of some people enjoying full social participation?
  • Why did Todaro state that ‘a more equitable international order is not just possible, it is essential’?
  • In the light of the past sixty years of development, should we look upon the foreseeable future with optimism or pessimism?

Further Reading

Clark, D. A. ed. (2006), The Elgar Companion to Development Studies, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

Clark, D.A. (2002), Visions of Development: A Study of Human Values, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Leys, C. (1996), The Rise and Fall of Development Theory, Indiana University Press.


Instituto del Tercer Mundo (available in Spanish and English): and

The website for Dr Alastair Greig’s course on The Sociology of Third World Development at the Australian National University:

Resources from Professor David Hulme can be accessed here:

Professor Mark Turner’s profile:

The Development Executive Group gives some insight into the types of jobs available in the development field: