In this landmark text, Gilbert Rist provides a comprehensive and compelling overview of what the idea of development has meant throughout history. He traces it from its origins in the Western view of history, through the early stages of the world system, the rise of US hegemony, and the supposed triumph of third-worldism, through to new concerns about the environment and globalization.
Assessing possible postdevelopment models and considering the ecological dimensions of development, Rist contemplates the ways forward. Throughout, he argues persuasively that development has been no more than a collective delusion, which in reality has resulted only in widening market relations, whatever the intentions of its advocates.
A classic development text written by one of the leaders of postdevelopment theory.
Preface to the Fourth Edition
Preface to the Third Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
1. Definitions of Development
2. Metamorphoses of a Western Myth
3. The Making of a World System
4. The Invention of Development
5. The International Doctrine and Institutions Take Root
6. Modernization Poised between History and Prophecy
7. The Periphery and the Understanding of History
8. Self-reliance: The Communal Past as a Model for the Future
9. The Triumph of Third-Worldism
10. The Environment, or the New Nature of 'Development'
11. A Mixture of Realism and Fine Sentiments
12. Globalization as a Simulacrum of 'Development'
13. From the Struggle against Poverty to the Millennium Development Goals
14. The Great Turnaround?
15. Beyond 'Development': From Downscaling to a Change in the Economic Paradigm
GILBERT RIST is a leading Swiss scholar of development and professor at the Graduate Institute of Development Studies (IUED) in Geneva. He is the author of a number of intellectually pathbreaking books highly critical of conventional development thinking in the field. The History of Development is the first published in English, and is translated by PATRICK CAMILLER.
"This is an impressive account of the rise and demise of the belief system that has pushed mankind to the brink of disaster."
– Wolfgang Sachs, author of The Development Dictionary and Fair Future
Praise for previous editions:
"If you want to understand the ideological forces that have shaped North-South relations for half a century, you need this remarkable book."
– Susan George
"Compelling and exciting reading [...] Rist's book, written with deliciously mild irony, is an account of the most crucial moments in which the rites of a belief embraced by millions were elaborated and canonized."
– Olga Nieuwenhuys, European Journal of Development Research
"A much needed corrective to the work of the cheerleaders of the newly globalized order [...] This book does an outstanding job."
– Jan Knippers Black, Journal of Developing Areas
"This book is one of the most astute of its genre available today [...] exact in its scholarship and profound in its clear account of the philosophies and consequences of the Western example."
"At a time when globalization and humanitarian interventions are taking over from development, this book should help us understand why development has led so many well-intentioned people astray [...]. It presents complex debates with great clarity, provides an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with the literature and should prove essential reading for students and others interested, or involved, in development."
– Marie-Dominique Perrot, IUED
"Clear and well-written, there is no comparable book available in English."
– Professor Martin O'Connor, economist
"An excellent and challenging book [...] It should be required reading for all interested in development, and particularly the economists among them."
– Peter de Valk, International Journal of African Historical Studies