By H. W. Singer (auth.)
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Extra resources for The Strategy of International Development: Essays in the Economics of Backwardness
The model is based on the assumption- or at least tends to suggest it- that economic development is a uni-directional, linear affair. This is what'I might call a 'unistic' theory of development, where it is assumed that there is one single indicator, the GNP, which gives a satisfactory index of something which we call 'development'. There is one single direction- it either goes up or it goes down or it stays the same. Now my suggestion is - and I think this is also what Myrdal wants to say, although he may not say it in exactly those words- that development is not a unidirectional unistic affair.
But - and this is relevant for our present subject - in the 1930s it was believed that if we could only solve this one problem of mass unemployment in industrial countries, then no serious problems would remain and an economic paradise would result. This was believed to be the last problem that stood between us and what was called 'economic bliss', the solution of 'the economic problem'. This last expectation has not been fulfilled. We have not reached the stage of economic paradise or economic bliss.
We also know that the vast majority of children living in underdeveloped countries are in fact undernourished, partly because of poverty and partly because of ignorance and traditional food habits. These children are almost all undernourished not only in terms of calories, but more important in terms of proteins and vitamins. Now if the findings that malnutrition of children can have sueh permanent effects are correct, this is certainly a subject of key importance. It ought to be a more important problem for planners than the incremental rate of savings, for instance.
The Strategy of International Development: Essays in the Economics of Backwardness by H. W. Singer (auth.)