A Road Stop On The Development Journey

Economic development is a journey that has no final destination, at least not this side of utopia. But it can still be useful to take a road stop along the journey, see where we've been, and contemplate what comes next. Nancy H. Chau and Ravi Kanbur offer such an overview in their essay "The Past, Present, and Future of Economic Development," which appears in a collection of essays called
Towards a New Enlightenment? A Transcendent Decade (2018, pp. 311-325). It was published by Open Mind, which in turn is a nonprofit run by the Spanish bank BBVA (although it does have a US presence, mainly in the south and west).

(In the shade of this parenthesis, I'll add that if even or especially if your interests run beyond economics, the book may be worth checking out. It includes essays on the status of physics, anthropology, fintech, nanotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence, gene editing, social media, cybersecurity, and more.)

It's worth remembering and even marveling at some of the extraordinary gains in the standard of living for so much of the globe in the last three or four decades. Chau and Kanbur write:

The six decades after the end of World War II, until the crisis of 2008, were a golden age in terms of the narrow measure of economic development, real per capita income (or gross domestic product, GDP). This multiplied by a factor of four for the world as a whole between 1950 and 2008. For comparison, before this period it took a thousand years for world per capita GDP to multiply by a factor of fifteen. Between the year 1000 and 1978, China’s income per capita GDP increased by a factor of two; but it multiplied six-fold in the next thirty years. India’s per capita income increased five-fold since independence in 1947, having increased a mere twenty percent in the previous millennium. Of course, the crisis of 2008 caused a major dent in the long-term trend, but it was just that. Even allowing for the sharp decreases in output as the result of the crisis, postwar economic growth is spectacular compared to what was achieved in the previous thousand years. ...
1 2 3
View single page >> |

Disclosure: None.

How did you like this article? Let us know so we can better customize your reading experience. Users' ratings are only visible to themselves.


Leave a comment to automatically be entered into our contest to win a free Echo Show.