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Q: the history of development ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: the history of development
Category: Reference, Education and News > Teaching and Research
Asked by: bca-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 02 Jul 2002 15:24 PDT
Expires: 01 Aug 2002 15:24 PDT
Question ID: 35992
I am trying to research the history of the relatively modern idea of
"development," that is, the effort to improve the economy of a
"less-developed" country in order to improve the over-all living
standards.  I am curious about the process of how the idea of helping
others evolved into what we know today as development.  I am looking
for a bibliography of books, articles, etc. that would discuss this
topic from as many angles as possible.  I need this information ASAP
(I should have started my research months ago).  Thanks!
Subject: Re: the history of development
Answered By: chromedome-ga on 02 Jul 2002 21:27 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello again, Bca-ga!

Since your question was still available this evening, I've come back
to take a shot at answering it for you.  I will provide a small amount
of summary for you, followed by links and search strategies.  Between
them, this should provide you with as much information as you can
reasonably use.

Summary of the Summaries:

Although the roots of our modern concept of "development" go well into
the pre-war years, it is mainly a result of the post WWII period. 
Decolonialization and postwar reconstruction, gave rise to a new way
of viewing the relationships between richer and poorer nations. 
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a liberal in his social views, had made
"freedom from want" one of the "Four Freedoms" on which he wished to
see the postwar world constructed.

As in so many related fields, two main schools of thought would
develop between the war's end and the present day.  To give these
their most-used names, they are the "liberal" or "aid-oriented" camp;
and the "libertarian" or "free-market" camp.  Typifying the first
camp, dominant until the 1980's, are notable figures including Sir
Arthur Lewis, Gunnar Myrdal, and Albert Hirschman (Lewis and Myrdal
being Nobel laureates).  The second (laissez-faire) camp includes
Friedrich Hayek, Peter Bauer, and Gottfried Haberler.

You will find that the first group includes a larger number of
higher-profile economists, and several Nobel laureates.  In fact the
first ever Nobel for economics was shared by Jan Tinbergen, a leading
proponent of the Keynesian approach to international development. 
This parallels the correspondingly greater influence of the Keynesian
school in general during the same timeframe.  The "laissez-faire" or
"free-market" grouping were seen primarily as stubborn contrarians
until the rightward political swing of the 1980's brought them to
prominence, and in some cases (Bauer) into government.

You may want to be especially aware of 1998 Nobel-winner Amartya Sen,
who seems to have a foot in each camp.  He was a student and sometime
antagonist of Bauer, and was much quoted in his obituaries.  He also
appears to have contributed prefatory material to recent printings of
several other economists' work, always a good source of concise
summary for the time-sensitive student.

A word of warning: the debates between these camps were highly
ideological at times, and not confined to development issues.  Other
forms of social legislation such as minimum wages, labour law, and the
"welfare state" in general were hotly debated during these years, and
by many of the same economists who figure in the development debates. 
You will be hard-pressed at times to be reasonably objective.


Here are a few reasonable "big picture" summaries for you.

For those who, like yourself, are attempting to get a quick overview
of the field's development, this is an excellent link to start with:

Aimed at students researching the field, the article organizes the
various major economists and schools of thought for you.

A recent work which seems to cover the ground reasonably is
"Commanding Heights" by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw (Simon &
Schuster, New York, 1998).  An excellent page with many excerpts is
available on the PBS website at this link:

Another, intended (I believe) for use as a textbook in this field, is
"International Political Economy and the Developing Countries" by
Stephan Haggard (Ed.)  (Edward Elgar Publishing 1995)
The World Bank report cited below by davidsar should be part of your
reading, in spite of its size.  It may be downloaded in PDF format or
as plain text, so you should have no difficulty using shorter works to
organize your thoughts and then searching this document for supporting
details.  Bear in mind as you read it that the World Bank is itself a
product of the Keynesian school, which may tend to colour some of the


Many economic journals are available on the Web.  An obvious starting
point would be the "Journal of Economic Development", which may be
found here:

You will also find a comprehensive listing of online economic journals
at this URL:

Up to five years' back issues may be available for some journals
through the JSTOR system, if you attend a participating institution:

Representative economists, with a focus on links containing good

Amartya Sen

The Nobel committee's press release/bio of Amartya Sen (scroll to
bottom for bibliography):

Atlantic Monthly's interview with Sen, 1999, including links to
related articles:

Gunnar Myrdal

The Nobel site again:

From New School's website:

Peter Bauer

The Washington Times obituary, summarizing the interplay between his
ideas and those of his adversaries:

A useful summary of his thought:

A list of his writings, with some quotes from others in the field:

Jan Tinbergen

A bio, with a list of major works:

A summary of his career, from New School:

Friedrich Hayek

A central Hayek site, with lots of links (and some hyperbole):

A useful summary of Hayek's career and work:

Raul Prebisch

A summary of his thought and writings:

Arthur Lewis

New School again:

A speech given by Lewis in 1971 to the Caribbean Development Bank:

Search strategies:

For any individual economist, a Google search in this format gave me
more than enough hits to choose from:

+"<economist's name>" +economist

The quotes are necessary, the <> were for demonstration purposes.

General information is trickier to get, because of the large volume of
search results from phrases like "international development".  I got
reasonably good results with this search:

+"international development" +economist +theory +aid -course 

The "-course" statement removes the course listings of a few thousand
universities' economics departments.

+"foreign aid" +benefits +development

also returned a number of useful sites.

To get the best return on your time, I would recommend starting at the
PBS and New School sites and following your nose from there.

Good luck, happy reading, and thank you for an interesting question. 
I hope your coffee budget holds out until you're done the paper.

bca-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: the history of development
From: chromedome-ga on 02 Jul 2002 15:46 PDT
Hi, bca.

This is not directly pertinent, but to provide a context for your
other reading, take a look at:

"The Invention of Primitive Society: Transformations of an Illusion" 
A. Kuper,  New York (1988); Routledge.

One of the major undercurrents you'll find in examining your subject
is a parochial assumption of across-the-board superiority on the part
of the "developed" nations.  I intend this as an observation, not a
criticism (he hastens to point out).

Kuper's book examines the preconceptions which western anthropology
brought to bear in its study of other cultures over the 1 1/2
centuries (or so) of its existence.  Since these anthropological
constructs provided the framework within which the "development"
mindset developed, it is worth at least a quick look.  It should give
you some insights which will earn you "brownie points" with your prof.

If nothing else, it will keep you occupied while my colleagues and I
track down some more focussed information for you.  Good luck!
Subject: Re: the history of development
From: davidsar-ga on 02 Jul 2002 17:28 PDT
You might want to have a look at this on-line book, "Pioneers in
development"(all 364 pages of it!) by arguably the key development
agency on the globe, the World Bank:


"The "Pioneers in Development" are those whose articles, reports, and
books came to dominate thinking about economic development in the late
1940s and 1950s. They shaped the subject by introducing concepts,
deducing principles, and modeling the process of development. The
"pioneers" included in this book include: Lord Bauer, Colin Clark,
Albert O. Hirschman, Sir Arthur Lewis, Gunnar Myrdal, Raul Prebisch,
Paul N. Rosenstein-Rodan, Walt Whitman Rostow, H.W. Singer, and Jan

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