Endogenous Development Essay

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Endogenous development was presented as an alternative perspective on development that reconsidered modernization theory, which had until the 1960s been the dominant analytical paradigm of social change. The notion of ”endogenous development” originates in two sources. One was the Dag Hammarskjold report Another Development, presented to the Seventh Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1975. The other original contribution came from a Japanese sociologist, Kazuko Tsurumi. She first used the term ”endogenous development” in 1976, critically examining western theories of social change and modernization in light of non-western experiences.

The goal of endogenous development is for all humans and their groups to meet basic needs in food, clothing, shelter, and medical care as well as to create conditions in which individuals can fully utilize their potentialities. Paths to the goal follow diverse processes of social change. Individuals and groups in each region must autonomously create social visions and ways forward to the goal by adapting to their own ecological systems and basing development programs on their own cultural heritage and traditions.

The notion of endogenous development began to be employed extensively in the late 1970s by organizations, including the United Nations and UNESCO, as well as by individual researchers in various countries and regions. It was an attempt to explore an alternative route to development in a world faced with dangerous and seemingly intractable global problems, such as disruption of ecosystems, poverty, and famine.


  1. Dag Hammarskjold Foundation (1975) What Now: Another Development. The 1975 Dag Hammarskjold Report on Development and International Cooperation. Prepared for the Seventh Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, September 1-12.
  2. Tsurumi, K. (1979) Aspects of Endogenous Development in Modern Japan. Research Papers, Series A-36. Institute of International Relations, Sophia University, Tokyo.

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