The origins of the concept of dual growth are obscure, although its cognitive roots may be somewhere in David Hume's articulation of "the rich country --poor country problem." 1 While he seems to have envisaged some division along lines of comparative advantage, Hume indicated that nations could move from "courser" to "more elaborate" manufactures and industries over time. 2 Hume's failure to consider cognitive innovation or technological progress as sources of growth clearly imposed limits to a single type of growth--static: "The growth of everything, both in arts and nature, at last checks itself." 3
Thomas Malthus stressed natural limits for a single type of resource-based growth in economies operating under a low-income ceiling, possibly imposed by slow technological progress. 4 The distinguished Malthusian interpreter, Emmanual LeRoy Ladurie, however, considered the real ceiling on growth of per capita income to be stagnant technology, rather than shortages of land or resources. His conclusions imply that innovation might raise, or remove, that ceiling, but he did not suggest that growth above the resource ceiling would be of a different sort. 5
Nor was Adam Smith able to conceive that innovation might generate a sustained flow of inventions that could remove the barriers to infinite static growth inherent in expansion of capital stock. For Smith steady-state stagnation was a probable result, should a nation ever confront those resource- based barriers. For Smith the only alternative was expansion through trade. Like Hume, Smith did not conceive an alternative to static growth. Explicitly acknowledging a finite limit on real output, Smith concluded that
[i]n a country which had acquired the full complement of riches which the nature of its soil and climate, and its situation with respect to other countries, allowed it to acquire, . . . fully peopled in proportion to what either its territory could maintain or its stock employ, . . . fully stocked in proportion to all the business it had to transact, . . . the ordinary profit [would be] as low as possible. 6
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Publication information: Book title: The Economic Basis of Peace:Linkages between Economic Growth and International Conflict. Contributors: William H. Mott IV - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 262.