The Development Dictionary

A Guide to Knowledge as Power

Edited by Wolfgang Sachs

Development Essentials Edition


The concise, critical guide to key concepts in development studies.

The original critical guide to key concepts in development studies from some of the world's most eminent critical development scholars and practitioners.

Each essay in this now classic collection examines one key development concept, from the ‘environment’ to ‘needs’ and ‘progress’ to ‘production’. Each concept is reviewed from a historical and anthropological point of view, with particular bias and intellectual flaws being highlighted. Overall, the authors argue that we must bid farewell to the whole idea of Eurocentric development in order to liberate people’s minds in both North and South and to mobilize for bold responses to the environmental and ethical challenges now confronting humanity.

The result is an indispensable resource for scholars, practitioners, movements and students of development which invites us to recognize the tinted glasses we put on whenever we participate in the development discourse.

Author Bio

Wolfgang Sachs is an author and Research Director at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, in Germany. He has been chair of the board of Greenpeace Germany, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and is a member of the Club of Rome. He teaches at Schumacher College and as Honorary Professor at the University of Kassel. His other books include Planet Dialectics (with Susan George, Zed 2015), and the edited collection Fair Future (Zed 2007).

Table of Contents

  • Foreword to the New Edition
  • Introduction - Wolfgang Sachs
  • 1. Development - Gustavo Esteva
  • 2. Environment - Wolfgang Sachs
  • 3. Equality - C. Douglas Lummis
  • 4. Helping - Marianne Gronemeyer
  • 5. Market - Gerard Berthoud
  • 6. Needs - Ivan Illich
  • 7. One World - Wolfgang Sachs
  • 8. Participation - Majid Rahnema
  • 9. Planning - Arturo Escobar
  • 10. Population - Barbara Duden
  • 11. Poverty - Majid Rahnema
  • 12. Production - Jean Robert
  • 13. Progress - Jose Maria Sbert
  • 14. Resources - Vandana Shiva
  • 15. Science - Claude Alvares
  • 16. Socialism - Harry Cleaver
  • 17. Standard of Living - Serge Latouche
  • 18. State - Ashis Nandy
  • 19. Technology - Otto Ullrich


Reviews of the First Edition:

'Unique...the book is a scream of pain from the receiving end of a process experienced as cultural genocide.'
The Guardian

'Short, pithy and well reasoned... There is something in each chapter to challenge, even assault, our dearest, most tightly held assumptions.'
Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society

'The Development Dictionary questions the whole basis for twentieth century development through a series of brilliantly written essays by leading writers from around the world.'


Publication Date: 15 September 2019
352 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback 3rd Edition: 9781786997517
Hardback 3rd Edition: 9781786997500
eBook ePub 3rd Edition: 9781786997524
eBook PDF 3rd Edition: 9781786997531
eBook Kindle 3rd Edition: 9781786997548
Library Edition 2nd Edition: 9781848133792

Previous Editions: Paperback 2nd Edition: 9781848133808
Paperback 1st Edition: 9781856490443
eBook ePub 2nd Edition: 9781848136458
eBook PDF 2nd Edition: 9781848133815
eBook Kindle 2nd Edition: 9781780326108
Library Edition 1st Edition: 9781856490436

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