Millenium Development Goals. An Ethical Analysis for a Constant Search for Freedom

Essay, 2016

7 Pages





Humanity has been transformed into killing automatons. This was briefly posited by E. F. Schumacher when he identified the current situation and perspective on human development. Human development, in all its undertakings, is measured through profit-maximization and technological advancement at the expense of culture, human-ness and environment. Many, particularly “experts” from the developed countries and from underdeveloped countries educated through western education, celebrates the alleviation of the “problem of production” [Schumacher (1989[1973])]. Only through the complete exhaustion of natural resources efficiency is maximized and only through the abuse of human workforce can effectiveness be worth celebrating. However, profit maximization and technological advancement only wiped away humanity and capiturism (the greed-driven capitalism and consumerism spiraling out of control) has transformed every individual into greedy, discontented automatons; the catastrophic human desolation and destruction.

Schumacher couldn’t agree more when Vandana Shiva identifies the dissolution of (bio)diversity in all its dimensions – economic, social and cultural, because of the supposition that money necessitates human satisfaction and that technology is a messianic savior from the barbaric lifestyle called simplicity. This is the order that the society has been, for a long while, maintaining. However Hans Küng, in the Declaration of a Global Ethic, has recognized that this order has only nurtured all the socio-economic stifles particularly poverty, job insecurity, gender disparity, political paralysis, morbidity, etc.

This form of human development is not espoused by the three competing theorists. Though viewing the world in different perspectives, they are in unison when they exclaimed that we are interrelated: the Butterfly Phenomenon. Human development calls for a collective effort. Through the “minimal fundamental consensus concerning binding values, irrevocable standards and fundamental moral attitudes,” Schumacher and Küng has welcomed a new global order which will be established to be the answer to our “problem of production” and disintegration of humanity. (Bio)Diversity, is understood by Schumacher and Shiva to be a shared responsibility realized through conjuring wisdom at the fore of all social and most especially economic undertakings. Only then that human development and transformation guarantee freedom. Wisdom is seen by all three theorists to be the prerequisite for human development and freedom- a recognition of a demand to treat every human being humanely regardless of its socio-demographic background.

It goes out with much emphasis and reiteration that the human individual plays a crucial role in human development. The human individual, epistemologically, is a ‘subject’ whose “experiences and thought processes are defined with reference to the ‘I’… a free consciousness that constitutes the very essence of human being” [Cavallaro 2001: 86]. These assumptions entail human power characterized by ‘perception, reasoning, and free agency’ [Cavallaro 2001]. These statements echo Schumacher, Küng and Shiva’s ontological conceptions of human agency who is capable (characterized by free will) and knowledgeable of his/her own action (both intentional/purposive and even action under compulsion). We are answerable to our own decision, action and even the unintended consequences of our intended actions; therefore, any human development endeavor needs for role redefinition especially in development decision-making. Let the people, as agents, be accountable in their own development.


POVERTY is a vicious culture.

This has constantly and consistently fuels the “crisis of freedom” as a result of structuration of power, class, gender and sexuality in society [Küng 1993]. This ‘crisis’ principally is associated with Karl Marx. He theorized that ‘crisis’ occurs during the phase of capitalism [Kenway 1990]. This notion of interrelation of crisis and capitalism that occurs in the society is evident in Küng’s assumption. Küng, as supported by Girling and Bourdieu, asserts that the effective way of social change is for the capital to transcend beyond its social origins to educational capital.

Küng is in unison with Holland and Bourdieu when thay argue that social inequality is the product of an ‘objective’ structure of power and that those dominant classes mask their self-interest to maintain their status quo as the power bloc by manipulating consciousness such as in the field of politics. Since then, poverty has been extremely politicized.

This “social fracture” and “crisis of freedom” are recognized by the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) team which challenges the prevalent consciousness of the individuals (both from the developed and underdeveloped countries) to end poverty (in all its dimensions) through the declaration of universal human rights. This is a call of humanity for a universally accepted valuations characterized by a certain end which is freedom (from).

As seen in Table 1, Des Gasper offers a blanket of assessing universalizing development programs on the grounds of ethical evaluation. This article highlights three perspectives on the MDG which are: Mainstream Western Economism, Humanism and Radical Christianism on views on people, society and its key judgment values. Further, evaluation approach will constitute 3 views.

Table 1. Des Gasper’s Tip-of-the-Iceberg Evaluation

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


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Millenium Development Goals. An Ethical Analysis for a Constant Search for Freedom
University of the Philippines  (Philippine Military Academy)
Master of Arts in Social and Development Studies
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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humanity, freedom, millenium development goals
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Maria Victoria Dariano (Author), 2016, Millenium Development Goals. An Ethical Analysis for a Constant Search for Freedom, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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