A quixotic ethic of development?

I came across an interesting quote today by Spanish novelist Arturo Pérez-Reverte. It caught my eye because lately I have been thinking about ethics – the ethics of development in general and of donor interference in particular. But it also resonates with all too frequent claims about aid “not working” or public sector reform being “too hard”. These words make me think that perhaps there is a simple answer to those claims: “so what”. Think of it as a kind of quixotic ethic of development:

I believe the bad guys always win. And you can associate with the bad guy or, in a more quixotic way, strive to make the bad guy’s sleep uneasy, make him know that at any time someone may rise to take his sleep – or his business – away.  Let the bad guy know that being bad is not that easy, that it can even be dangerous.

In a way this is clearly the ethics animating activists everywhere, those speaking up to power or swimming against the political current. But perhaps this basic moral principle could also apply to development challenges. More to follow…?

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Don Quijote by Pablo Picasso (1955)