The Process of Economic Development

The Process of Economic Development

The Process of Economic Development

The Process of Economic Development

Synopsis

Drawing together recent changes in the debates with the history of the subject, The Process of Economic Development combines development experience with theoretical concerns. A close examination of recent events is integral to the book, with discussions ranging from the environment to the debt case, and from export-led industrialization to import substitution industrialization growth theory and technological capability. Throughout the work, the authors focus on income distribution, poverty, and social issues. The book has an accessible style and format. Plentiful diagrams, boxed and user-friendly summaries, and end-of-chapter questions help the reader to grasp many-faceted topics. Coverage includes a wide range of geographic regions such as Latin America, Africa, China and Asia, in order to provide a uniquely balanced world picture.

Excerpt

The newspapers in the advanced nations regularly recount frightful events somewhere in Africa, Asia, or Latin America - famine in Africa, cholera in Latin America, or child labour in Asia - tragic stories that seem to have no beginning, no context, no history, and no end. This portrayal of events is not false, per se, but it is a distorted perception of life in the less-developed poor nations where the bulk of the world’s population lives. Most of the daily life of the masses of people - their routines, hopes, struggles, accommodations, and work - fails to be reported. It is well to remember, however, that the people of these regions struggle to maintain their dignity, their humanity and their grace.

This is a book about much that is important in determining the material well-being of vast numbers of individuals who live in the less-developed nations. Economic development demands enormous changes in the ways in which people organize their lives, and it requires transformations in the distribution of income, the sources of wealth, and in political, social and economic power. In every poor country, there are people who benefit from economic underdevelopment, and they may be relative or even absolute losers if their society and economy are transformed. These elites have a compelling interest in preserving the status quo. But change in the less-developed world, however halting and however misguided at times, is occurring.

Economic development is concerned with both learning and doing. It is necessary to learn to master the relevant ideas which have been offered to interpret and analyse issues of development. It is also necessary to critically examine and contest inappropriate and erroneous ideas that have too often been presented as incontrovertible truths regarding development. But that is not enough. Economic development does not happen on its own, and never has. Good public policy is at the core of the process of economic development. Such policy, however, operates along a ‘knife edge’, working within the limits and constraints of the conditions of the present, ever mindful of the mistakes of the past which have shaped the economy and society and its initial endowments. Even having put good policies . . .

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