Thom Ringer


In spite of the ubiquity of the phrase in contemporary development

discourse and policy, there exists no generally, or even substantially,

agreed-upon definition of the "rule of law" for the purposes of

development. This Note investigates the intellectual and normative

tensions created by the conceptual conflict surrounding the rule of law in

development theory and practice. Drawing on both moral and economic

understandings of human development, I attempt strenuously to identify

the obstacles to consensus on the meaning of the rule of law. I conclude

that the rule of law must be construed as a means of development rather

than one of its fully-fledged. ends. I also advocate greater attention to the

dynamic character of institutions in the developing world, and theoretical

moderation in specifying the normative goals of rule of law.