Transitions to Capitalism and Democracy in Russia and Central Europe: Achievements, Problems, Prospects

By M. Donald Hancock; John Logue | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10
Knowledge and Institutional Change:
Market Leninism versus Popperian
Incrementalism

David Ellerman

"Autonomous" derives from "self" (auto) and "law" (nomos)--the property of having the "law" or principle of operation being derived internally as opposed to being imposed from an external source (heteronomous). How can external agents sponsor autonomy-enhancing development in individuals, 1 organizations, regions within a country, or whole countries? At first glance, that seems like a contradiction in terms, like "forcing spontaneity." While not impossible, external aid to autonomous development is nonetheless a subtle enterprise. Much development assistance is paternalistic in many obvious and not so obvious ways and increases long-run dependence. But the road to autonomy is also not autarky or isolation (e.g., as in Albania or North Korea). External relationships can bring the fruits of specialization and gains from trade without sacrificing autonomy (e.g., compare modern Japan to its closed society before the mid nineteenth century).

Capital has played a central role in development assistance in the past, but today knowledge, the fourth factor of production, is moving onto center stage. Compare, for example, the knowledge-rich, but resource-poor countries of the East Asian "miracle" with the resource-rich, but knowledge-poor, countries of the Middle East. My analysis therefore focuses on the role of knowledge in shaping the methodology of autonomy-inducing development. On this general theme, we may start by recalling Kant's admonition at the beginning of his 1784 pamphlet What Is Enlightenment?

Enlightenment is man's release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man's inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to

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