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I start with a set of ideas evolved in the course of a career
spanning 40 years working with developing nations. They aren’t
finished products. This is no credo seeking slavish adherents. This is a
start on a path that I hope will have many trailblazers.
The ideas are basically optimistic. They rest on the simple
observation that people can and do change and improve; and that
societies can and do change and improve. Moreover, less simply,
improvement in individuals and organizations can be described as stages
of development along a continuum. The direction of change in both people
and societies is not always positive, but it is possible for us to
clarify our notions about desirable change and to seek ways to bring it
about. We need to know progress when we see it.
Viewed another way, development can be seen as the process
through which individuals and societies move from high fertility/ high
mortality to low fertility/ low mortality levels of existence. That is
the task upon which we are embarked, but it turns out there are many
transitions to be negotiated by individuals and societies in the course
of achieving it.
The hoped-for results of my work, enriched by others, will be the
design of improved strategies for the development of societies, those of
the third world up to and including our own. Soejatmoko, an Indonesian
sage who once headed the United Nations University, said that developed
and less developed countries are each, in different ways, equally
unprepared for the future.  The future is hurtling towards us at
unprecedented speed; we need to take some time to think about it.
We need better development strategies because those currently
most often pursued tend to be overly wasteful of the earth’s
resources, inefficient, inequitable, and unacceptably time-consuming.
And we need development because only when a society reaches a relatively
advanced stage, and its members achieve a high level of consciousness,
can it hope to deal responsibly with the critical challenges facing our
The site has several sections. An overview of the sections and
the papers within them can be found on the Site
Index page. To go to a different part of the site, click on words
highlighted in blue, which are links. A link to the Site Index is
located at the bottom of each page.
Ideas are put forth below, arranged by topic: Individual Human
Development, Technological Development, and Organizational Development.
These are the inter-related vectors of change through which progress, or
desirable change, can be attained. Once we grasp the possibility of
progress, and the dimensions in which it can occur, we can strive to
identify feasible development strategies to bring it about.
Core Ideas is a section called Background.
Here I indicate the ways in which, over the years, I have arrived at my
present position on human, organizational and technological development.
Papers I have written in the past that bear on the topic at hand are
linked to. References are footnoted. This section, I hope, will
attract the most contributions from readers.
I present Core Ideas without much elaboration. You may find
yourself unconvinced upon first exposure because they raise so many
questions and challenge so many cherished beliefs. The Background
section contains more extensive explorations of these ideas, and
illustrates the experiences on which the ideas are based. The papers
referred to are grouped by the same topics as in the Core Ideas section.
Then they are listed by the region to which they pertain, and by the
organizational context in which they were written.
Current Commentary contains examples of current issues, such as
globalization, where developmental thinking produces somewhat
unconventional conclusions. I intend to keep adding to this section as
readers’ comments, books, articles, and events stimulate ideas.
The section called Bio Stuff contains a resume and a brief
account of my career, along with some pictures and personal information.
Readers’ Comments will, I hope, contain the views of people
like you, which will serve to extend or correct my analyses.
Soedjatmoko. “The United Nations University's Next Stage.” In
Sixteenth Session of the Council of the UN University on December 1,
1980. 1980. Tokyo, Japan: UNU manuscript.
Please write to me at