The Multiple Meanings of Development

Sonia E. Rolland

in Development at the World Trade Organization

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199600885
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738364 | DOI:

Series: International Economic Law Series

The Multiple Meanings of Development

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Despite its ubiquitous use in the international legal discourse, the precise meaning of “development” is elusive and has evolved over time. The purpose of this brief theoretical survey is to understand the influences that have driven normative, regulatory and institutional evolutions in the trade and development relationship. At one end of the spectrum, development has been largely equated with GDP growth; this macro-economic perspective has fuelled much of the Washington Consensus and the international organizations associated with it. At the other end of the spectrum, development is seen primarily as a human rights issue. In practice, the evolving blend of development economics and rights-based approaches has changed what we understand to be the substance of development in international and trade law.

Keywords: right to development; sustainable development; rule of law; economics; structuralists; development economics; marxism; legal reform; developmental state; free trade; colonialism; development

Chapter.  9451 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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