Thomas McCarthy’s Race, Empire, and the Idea of Human Development is an intriguing and important book; moreover, despite its heavy themes and its fine scholarship, it is extremely readable. And it is very timely. The questions it takes up are some of the most pressing of our age: globalization, international distributive justice, and sustainable economic development in particular. Its central problematic concerns the detrimental effects of developmental thinking as a core feature of modernity. The book seeks, says McCarthy, to make “a contribution to the critical history of the present” (2), but it does not stop with critical analysis; McCarthy strives to reconstruct the concept of “development” in the interest of securing human rights and establishing global justice.

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Copyright © 2012, Symposia on Gender, Race and Philosophy. This article first appeared in Symposia on Gender, Race and Philosophy 8:1 (2012), 1-4.

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