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Joep Cuijpers was born in 1949 in Indonesia. He grew up in the Netherlands where he obtained a MSc in Development Economy at the Wageningen Agricultural University. This study combined his curiosity for what happens at the other side of the horizon with his interest in "choices and decisions."He inherited his curiosity from his parents who spent 40 years in Indonesia living in far away remote places. His interest in "choices and decisions" started when he, as a young student stood on a bridge in Tours, France after three months hitchhiking. He had had an invitation from two good looking French women to join them in going south but he also needed to return home to continue his study. A difficult choice for a young lad who, after going over the options for one hour decided to flip a coin and “home” it was! This made him realize that when the alternatives to choose from are in perfect balance, flipping a coin seems to be the obvious thing to do. However, he wondered what if this is not the case. is there then still a choice to make? Is it not just simply the result of comparing two alternatives and opting for what is most obviously the best which will offer most? What is there actually to choose in such a situation? This comparison of alternatives is the subject of “Economics,” which is not only out about comparing Costs and Benefits but also about what are “values” and how to define and compare them.
Since 1980, Mr Cuijpers has worked in Asian and European countries - mostly in water, sanitation and agriculture - for private firms and for the Dutch Government, EU, World bank, the Asian Development Bank and some NGOs. A resumé can be obtained on request. In 1990, under the name CERC he became an independent adviser. He increasingly experienced that, besides optimisation of profit and productivity, other aspects became important in the making of decisions such as environment, social equality, food-security and animal welfare to name but a few. This makes the making of choices more complicated but also more interesting. It also leads to situations in which a decision maker with limited knowledge of these different aspects comes to a choice which few understand and many might disagree with. The explanations and justifications that can be overheard such as "He/she is the boss" or, "That is politics" or, "Budget is there for it" show a mixture of loyalty, limited involvement, lack of knowledge and certainly room for more transparency. That decision makers cannot always justify their decisions is true. Ultimately, it is their job to give direction and to show the way. For this they often have to rely on what they feel, believe or consider important. The examples on this site show that, besides the structured decision built on evidence from experts, it is possible to make visible what the boss considers important and to what extent that influences the choice.