Center for the History of Global Development

Thinking about Development

Development is a diverse field. It gives rise to many questions, many challenges, and many opportunities. Sometimes, thinking about this takes the form of research papers, shared in conference talks, lectures, books, or journal articles. Sometimes, thinking is more experimental, more personal, more speculative, or it addresses points, which are interesting but too small to merit an entire research paper. In the face of the manifold challenges of the twenty-first century, there must be a place for out-of-the-box thinking beyond academic formats in a narrow sense.

This section give space to development-related texts of various shapes and forms. Contributions discussing ideas, explore explore questions or analyze events are very welcome. The topics and formats are free. The purpose is to share thoughts, invite debate and provoke constructive arguments.

Contributions are invited to All texts will undergo a screening procedure for suitability.

Think Piece 1:

Anna Popova: The 5 K Index.

Our world is rapidly changing, it is not the same as it was 100 years and even 10 years ago. To find out the progress, scientists from all over the world created different various tools to measure country’s progress or development. It is hard to use just one indicator to implement it for each country, that’s why when we measure development, we include many different indicators. My index is based on the 5 key points of human life.  

Anna Popova is undergraduate student at Shanghai University.

Think Piece 2:

Zill-E-Huma: Epic Transformation of Pakistan's bigest setback of "Waste"

Pakistan is a country with plenty of resources but also an abundance of problems.  It is struggling with high population density, unemployment, environmental pollution, terrorism/security, corruption, poor governance leading to political instability, a mismanagement of resources, an energy crisis, water scarcity, problems of waste management, regionally unequal development and other challenges. Some of these problems are mutually reinforcing, further adding to their burden. However, some seem to offer opportunities for mutually reinforcing solutions.
This paper proposes ideas on how turning waste into multifold opportunities could simultaneously address issues of water crisis and youth unemployment. In the process, the paper re-conceptualizes waste, (potentially) unemployed young people and water from material, social and environmental burdens to material, social and environmental resources.

Zill-e-Huma Mustafa Malik is a PhD student at Shanghai University.

She has presented this paper on "solutions and positive vision for the future" Epic Transformation of Pakistan's biggest setback of Waste" at the Streams Conference Transformative Environmental Humanities at the KTH Stockholm, Sweden on 4th August,2021