Growth has been at the forefront of political, economic and social discussions during the twentieth century. Although the subject of many empirical studies the theory of growth has received little attention outside of economics. Within economics it is widely acknowledged that the theorisation of growth raises many non-economic questions. This study is a contribution to the theory of growth from a wider sociological point of view. The study discusses the origins of the development impulse, the hyper-modernising character of the colonial state, the discovery of malnutrition and the beginnings of welfarist policies towards the colonies (Chapters 1 and 2). The postwar development controversies in the United Nations, the unsuccessful search for a non-political, technical theory of growth and the subsumption of growth problems to cold war geo-political theory are discussed in Chapter 3. The limited, and limiting, contributions of economics to growth theory are discussed in Chapters 4 and 5. Soviet Russian development theory and certain fundamental planning problems connected to the theorisation of the future are discussed in Chapter 6. Similar problems in modernisation theory are discussed in Chapter 7 and some early discussions of the problematics of the relationship between planning theory, state theory and the theorisation of the future are also discussed. Chapter 8 discusses some of the theoretical problems raised by treating development studies as a central, rather than peripheral, or applied discipline. These problems stem mainly from the theorisation of the future and raise difficult questions about progressivist and radical historicism, political philosophy, telos and rationality.