Rethinking Economics for an Uncertain World: Challenges for Development

By Ian Scoones

Uncertainties are everywhere, whether emerging through climate change, financial volatility, conflict or war. All too often we don’t know what the future will hold. This presents a big challenge for conventional styles of economic development where predictive models, blueprint plans and standardised policies hold sway. What would an economics for development look like if uncertainties – where we don’t know the likelihood of future outcomes – are taken seriously? This is the focus of a new paper in World Development, where we argue for a major recasting of economic thinking and practice,  reclaiming older approaches that put uncertainty centre-stage.

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You don’t like the SDGs? Look what else is on offer

By Lauchlan T. Munro

My friends on the left generally don’t like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I am told the SDGs are neoliberal, incoherent, (neo-)colonial; the SDGs omit too many important issues: democracy, climate justice, human rights, intersectionality, power. While I agree that the SDGs are imperfect, I must ask, however, what other policy options are on the table? My sad answer is that the available alternatives to the SDGs are much worse, unless you like patriarchy, environmental destruction and national security states.

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Interpreting Modernity: Exploring El Alto, Bolivia’s Perspective

By Guido Alejo, translated from Spanish by Maria Fernanda Córdova Suxo

Within Bolivia, a country marked by high levels of economic informality – nearly 90% of its active workforce, according to the Centro Boliviano de Economía (CEBEC) – El Alto stands out. Perched at an elevation of 4,000 meters on the Altiplano plateau, this city embodies informality not only in its economy but also in its very inception, formed outside the realms of state planning. Being just 38 years old, El Alto is witnessing a profound evolution in its concept of modernity. Here, a dynamic interplay between economic advancement, social mobility, and the redefinition of urban identity is underway.

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