After the Second World War, a consistent and conscious international effort was made to develop the economically underdeveloped majority of the world. This effort has been coordinated by the World Bank and the IMF. The developed countries, headed by the USA, were in the forefront of offering profligate advice and ‘aid’ to achieve that purpose; whole new academic disciplines grew up; quite a few development institutes were founded; the teaching of the theory and art of development to the academics and bureaucrats of the developing world became one of the major exports of the Western universities. However, during the years 1945–90 not a single country graduated from the ‘under-developed’ to the ‘developed’ category, and whatever illusions of slow progress towards the goal there were, were shattered by the debt crisis and its aftermath in the 1980s. The only stars remaining in the firmament were the economies of the offshore assembly and distribution centres of city states like Hong Kong and Singapore, and even they could boast an industrial wage level of only about a third or a quarter of that of the industrialised world. If one takes a similar time period before the First World War, one finds quite a few countries graduating into the industrialised world — France, Germany, Japan, and the USSR, for example: something has obviously gone wrong.
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Purushottam Narayan Mathur
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
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