Quiet and Reflection
So my career silently changed. Upon returning to the University of Colorado, I began to reflect and to read history. I wanted to know what really caused some areas of the world to become better able, and more willing, to attend to their poor than others. I no longer trusted modern economics, which led to planning and government action. I wanted to find out how it had happened in the past.
For five years I did little else than teach my courses and read history. No more foreign assignments. My publishing output plummeted, and I might have "perished" had I not had tenure. I did co-author two books, however: one a textbook on economic development, which did not sell very well, possibly because it criticized mainstream economics; the other a critique of the New International Economic Order, which got me into trouble with a lot of Quakers.
As I read histories of China, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Europe, I began to teach courses in economic history rather than economic development. If there was any answer, I thought, it lay in history. How could I find it? It wasn't set forth in any one place. So I read widely, and every time I came upon something that related to economic development, or poverty versus wealth, I would jot it down, with its source, on a 3x5 index card. After five years, I had thousands of these cards. Now, after thirteen years, I have over ten thousand examples, all classified and in my computer.