If, in looking at the great sweep of economic thinking from Ricardo to Keynes, we focus on the thinkers’ broad attitudes toward the respective future of already developed and underdeveloped countries, we make a rather surprising discovery. In spite of their enormous doctrinal differences and the great diversity of their interests, background, and experiences, they all seem to agree that growth in already developed countries will sooner or later succumb to some kind of obstacle or come up against some kind of ceiling. The reasons which they adduce are as different as one would expect from their diverse general opinions, but they all seem to agree that for one reason or another economic growth will gradually create conditions which will make it grind to a halt. Conversely, in underdeveloped countries, where economic progress has not yet dug its own grave, conditions will be propitious to start the cycle of progress and decay. We may describe this illustrious school of thought which held such long sway as being D-pessimistic/U-optimistic, where D stands for continuation of development in already advanced countries, and U stands for starting development in underdeveloped countries.
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