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How Rich Countries Got Rich and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor (Anglais) Broché – 24 juillet 2008
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
It lands powerful punches. (The Sunday Telegraph)
Unlike much of the writing produced by opponents of globalization, these are serious books by serious people. They deserve to be read. (Reviewed alongside H-Joon Chang’s book in Financial Times.)
Warning: this book will forever change your conception of economic development. (Prof Perez, Cambridge University.)
A breakthrough in our understanding of the links between technology and the wealth and poverty of nations. (Prof Freeman, Univ of Sussex.)
Présentation de l'éditeur
How Rich Countries Got Rich is a narrative history of modern economic development from the Italian Renaissance to the present day.
In it Erik S. Reinert shows how rich countries developed through a combination of government intervention, protectionism, and strategic investment. Reinert suggests that this set of policies in various combinations has driven successful development from Renaissance Italy to the modern Far East. Yet despite its demonstrable success, orthodox development economists have largely ignored this approach and insisted instead on the importance of free trade.
Reinert presents a strongly revisionist history of economics and shows how the discipline has long been torn between the continental Renaissance tradition on one hand and the free market theories of English and later American economics on the other. He argues that our economies were founded on protectionism and state activism and could only later afford the luxury of free trade. When our leaders come to lecture poor countries on the right road to riches they do so in almost perfect ignorance of the real history of mass affluence.
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Erik Reinert montre que pourtant les débuts du capitalisme n'ont pas été la caricature qu'en donne l'économie néoclassique et du "consensus de Washington". Il nous emmène dans un voyage chez les économistes de la Renaissance, qui avaient beaucoup mieux compris que les économistes classiques la réalité du changement technologiques. Il nous fait découvrir les analyses oubliées de Werner Sombart.
Ouvrage d'autant plus original qu'avant de revenir à la recherche, Erik Reinert a été un praticien de l'économie du développement en Amérique latine, en Irlande avant d'être lui-même chef d'entreprise.
Les sources uniques de cet ouvrage, dans de nombreux économistes oubliés du XV° ai XIX° siècle, font de cet ouvrage un outil de culture et de travail pour comprendre notre temps, les erreurs qu'il a commises et les moyens de s'en sortir.
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In _How Rich Countries Got Rich and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor_, Norwegian economist Eric Reinert explains why how rich countries got rich and why poor countries stay poor. Rather than just looking at the facts and negatively criticizing free trade, he digs into the theory nations have used when succeeding with neo-mercantilist economic strategies. Lots of good stuff here: Tudor economic policy, mercantilism, Alexander Hamilton, Giovanni Botero, Antonio Serra, Friedrich List, Jean Baptiste Colbert, the German Historical School, Veblen and the Institutional School, Schumpeter, Sombart, Schmoller, and East Asian economics.
A world devoid of context: the modernism of the 1900s. Neoclassical economics curiously resembles Marxism in having roots in David Ricardo, an economist who looked at labor in a qualitatively empty (and therefore interchangeable) way. Privatize, deregulate, remove barriers to trade, reduce government spending, and, like the spontaneous order of a Jackson Pollock painting, your nation should take off economically. Comparative advantage tells us to specialize! Empirically, we know many poor countries have been devastated by such policies, getting stuck in sectors with diminishing rather than increasing returns; industrial countries like the United States have seen their wages stagnate by blindly following the same ideology. Milton Friedman tells us it is good to auction off the tech base required for long-term innovation for short-term consumption if another country strategically incentivizes this at their own expense. It is an abstract, ahistorical mentality.
Business is more than barter between interchangeable units -- many things are path-dependent, synergistic (e.g. if your city has tech incubators, your finance companies may tap into the talent pool and develop online mortgages), scale-dependent (i.e. have fixed costs), benefit from standardization, etc. etc. There is something out there similar to what Nietzsche called "capital of spirit and will" -- new knowledge, entrepreneurship, organizational ability. This makes me wonder if something called Say's Law, which most economists think is false, is true -- our ability to consume grows out of our ability to produce. This would explain why barber compensation has gone up in industrialized countries, and why a bus driver in Frankfurt makes 16x more than his counterpart in Lagos for doing identical work. We win and fail as our nations win and fail. This also explains why the Marshall Plan succeeded, while the Morgenthau plans the IMF and the World Bank force on other countries fail. And -- this also explains why palliative economics fails, since throwing money at countries does not by that fact alone make them more productive. Usually a state needs to artificially induce imperfect competition, through all sorts protective, artificial barriers, along with the state support of critical infrastructure and institutions, to kick off growth. That's what Hamilton recommended for the United States, and is the recipe every successful country has followed. Yet, rather than knowledge being cumulative, the neoclassical perspective too frequently views it as free, hitting everyone at the same time, a frictionless world.
Having the experience of working (years ago) in the coordination between my govt and the USAID for the implementation of projects, mainly infrastructure, but also projects with the private sector, I felt that the economists and staff working for the USAID were good intentioned people and really wanted to help our country. But that was the people directly involved with the projects and that was the years when, what we call "the Washington Consensus" today , was starting to develop as an economic world view to be imposed on us.
That being said, my opinion is that the book is very accurate in its analysis and its conclusions. Reading this book is a must, if you are interested in the "problems" of development and want to compare alternatives different from the discourse of the neo-classical economists.
I do not believe that the neo-classical (or the Washington Consensus) model failed. I think that the results they were getting, were exactly what the global elites wanted. They pursued a new kind of colonialism and they were on target. Terrible results for poor countries, but a success for the people behind the scheme.
As a final comment, after this book was written a new crisis developed and the issue of inequality has taken the front row, as evidence that not only the poor countries are being harmed...We still have a lot to see...live and learn!