Development ethics, feelings and values, maximizing development, relationships


This article builds on previous research studies strongly suggesting that high levels of social capital are positively associated with the economic and political progress of community residents. As previously proposed by the authors of this article, such findings may encourage policy makers of government and non-governmental development organizations to concentrate their efforts and resources in communities whose residents have been identified as having high levels of social capital. Policy- makers may view pre-existing high levels of social capital among community residents as a factor likely to increase the level of success of their respective socio-economic development initiatives. Such course of action however, would pose a serious ethical issue, given that it could lead to the exclusion of the poor communities with lower levels of social capital and the greatest socio-economic needs. This article explores ethical questions that emerge as we contrast an inductively created development model focusing on emotions with the positivistic social capital model often used in development work. Furthermore, it proposes that the ethical principles associated with the feelings and values held by development organizations and service recipients ought to guide decision making in development work. Such an approach would foster the relationships between policy makers, development professionals and program participants and would enhance the possibility of meeting their expectations.

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