The title of this chapter, possibly, is somewhat pretentious. I should make clear from the outset that its purpose is quite modest and straightforward. My initial premises are that social development is an ethical project in its own right and not merely an adjunct to economic development, and that the goal of social development is to promote collectively guaranteed human well-being for all peoples across the whole of the life course. The principal complexities that arise from these simple premises relate, fi rst, to a distinction between ethical principles and moral standards, and second, to a distinction between competing ideas about what constitutes human well-being. The chapter initially considers the conceptual distinction between morals and ethics, and the way this in turn relates to the distinction between social standards, on the one hand, and social rights, on the other. I then discuss the competing hedonic and eudaimonic ethical traditions before relating this to different conceptions of social policy and citizenship. This analysis is then applied to construct a heuristic taxonomy of currently prevailing strategies of social development. Finally, the chapter outlines a variety of contrasting ideas about the future of social development, before concluding with a qualifi ed case for a rights-based eudaimonic ethic of social development.