This introduction is from the 16th World Conference of SID in Colombo, Sri Lanka, August 1979, which addressed the theme of development choices for the 1980's and beyond. Choices may refer to different political, ideological or social systems. Choices may refer to strategies and technical issues, e.g. agriculture vs. industry. A third meaning of choice is implicit in the idea of a Third World, or alternative, method of development. The third meaning implies a rejection of Western institutions, values, and standards. In the past, the transfer of Western or in this case Northern, institutions and standards has disappointed and created obstacles to development. The rapid rate of population growth forces choices of population control and resource management. Common themes of development have emerged from conference discussions: the need to build development efforts on indigenous values; the need for new institutions both at the sub-national and at the super-national level; and, the need to adjust to inevitable changes rationally and with foresight. The nation state is too large for many functions that are better decentralized and left to village or district administrations, yet it is too small to respond to global challenges and environmental risks like harvest failure, credit risks, marketing risks, failure of supplies. The interests of the state are not identical with those of society or particular groups in society.