The Third Hans Singer Memorial Lecture on Global Development by Professor Stephen Chan is an effort to sketch a moral equivalent to the broad thrust of the Singer-Prebisch approach to the economic universe. It cannot be as elegant or exact. There is no successful modelling of a moral universe that has been contentious since its first imagination. That last word is itself key: the economic universe has a conception, and the moral universe is imagined – even if afterwards rendered in conceptual languages.
The Lecture proceeds by way of four propositions:
- What might, in this argument, be called ‘poor’ countries cannot assert the value of their philosophies, religious and political beliefs, or thought processes when, all the time, the response of ‘rich’ countries – ‘rich’ being applied to both economic and geopolitical structures of dominance – is to retain and expand the hegemonic nature of their own philosophies and beliefs.
- There is an irony here in that, very often, the philosophies of ‘poor’ countries are richer in history, generations of re-imagination and refinement, with multiple paradigm shifts and complex contentions, than those of ‘rich’ countries – and have, in some cases, been the guardians and transmitters of what the ‘rich’ now take as their own. The philosophies of the ‘poor’ have more ‘manufacture’ within them than those of the ‘rich’ whose dominance is set within a project of increase.
- The dominant structure nevertheless seeks to marshal differences according to its own preferences and convenience and, in a world of great economic and social inequalities, hegemonically rations mercy. The enlightened struggle of those within all structures is to work towards the equality of different philosophical and cultural structures, while seeking to ‘manufacture’ as many interim mercies of as comprehensive and unrationed a nature as possible.
- What is profoundly required in views of the world, and actions in the world today is, therefore, the moral duty of imagination to seek equality without uniformity, commonality without universalism, and mercy without preconditions.
- Prof. Dr. Dirk Messner, Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE),
- Sir Richard Jolly, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex
- Hans Singer Memorial Lecture on Global Development”: Mercy and the Structures of the World
Professor Stephen Chan OBE, School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London
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Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Sir Hans Wolfgang Singer (born 29 November 1910 in Wuppertal-Elberfeld; deceased 26 February 2006 in Brighton), a renowned international economist and development practitioner has studied in Bonn, among others with Joseph Schumpeter, and graduated from the Economics Department of Bonn University in 1931. Being Jewish, he fled the Nazi terror in 1933. After World War II, he became an influential development scholar with the United Nations before joining the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University Sussex.
In commemoration and in honour of Sir Hans Singer the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS, University of Sussex) have established the “Hans Singer Memorial Lecture on Global Development”. The Lecture alternates between Bonn and Brighton on an annual basis. The first Memorial Lecture was given 2009 in Bonn by Prof. Dr. Paul Collier, CBE, University of Oxford on “Hans Singer’s Legacy: The Problem of Commodity Exporters Revisited”. The second Memorial Lecture took place 2010 in Brighton and was given by Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Secretary General, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on “Hans Singer, Economic Development, Crisis, Recovery and the United Nations”.
Day/Time: 07.11.2011, 17:00 h
Location: Bonn, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)