Skip to main content

Jayati Ghosh on the Poverty-turn in Development Economics

As much as there has been an institutional turn in mainstream economics, since the 1980s, which is not completely dissociated from the anti-Keynesian turn that started in the 1970s and led to the segregation of heterodox groups within the profession, there has been a poverty-turn in the development economic literature, as noted by Jayati Ghosh.

Particularly important in this shift is that:
"Macroeconomic processes are entirely ignored: patterns of trade and economic activity that determine levels of employment and its distribution and the viability of particular activities, or fiscal policies that determine the extent to which essential public services like sanitation, health and education will be provided, or investment policies that determine the kind of physical infrastructure available and therefore the backwardness of a particular region, or financial policies that create boom and bust volatility in various markets. No link is even hinted at between the enrichment of some and the impoverishment of others, as if the rich and the poor somehow inhabit different social worlds with no economic interdependence at all, and that the rich do not rely upon the labour of the poor. This shuttered vision is particularly evident in the neglect of the international dimension in such analyses, and of the way in which global economic processes and rules impinge on the ability of states in less developed countries to even attempt economic diversification and fulfillment of the social and economic rights of their citizens."
The notion that development, and that meant industrialization, is central for elimination of poverty has vanished. But the mainstream has adopted a pro-poor stance. And who is really against reducing poverty?

Comments

  1. It's interesting how much of the "human capital" approach has been a way to paper over this glaring problem in development (and other) literature. This is something that I attack in my "Braaaains!" paper: http://vulgareconomics.blogspot.com/2015/07/braaaaaaaains.html

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A few brief comments on Brexit and the postmortem of the European Union

Another end of the world is possible
There will be a lot of postmortems for the European Union (EU) after Brexit. Many will suggest that this was a victory against the neoliberal policies of the European Union. See, for example, the first three paragraphs of Paul Mason's column here. And it is true, large contingents of working class people, that have suffered with 'free-market' economics, voted for leaving the union. The union, rightly or wrongly, has been seen as undemocratic and responsible for the economics woes of Europe.

The problem is that while it is true that the EU leaders have been part of the problem and have pursued the neoliberal policies within the framework of the union, sometimes with treaties like the Fiscal Compact, it is far from clear that Brexit and the possible demise of the union, if the fever spreads to France, Germany and other countries with their populations demanding their own referenda, will lead to the abandonment of neoliberal policies. Aust…

A brief note on Venezuela and the turn to the right in Latin America

So besides the coup in Brazil (which was all but confirmed by the last revelations, if you had any doubts), and the electoral victory of Macri in Argentina, the crisis in Venezuela is reaching a critical level, and it would not be surprising if the Maduro administration is recalled, even though right now the referendum is not scheduled yet.

The economy in Venezuela has collapsed (GDP has fallen by about 14% or so in the last two years), inflation has accelerated (to three digit levels; 450% or so according to the IMF), there are shortages of essential goods, recurrent energy blackouts, and all of these aggravated by persistent violence. Contrary to what the press suggests, these events are not new or specific to left of center governments. Similar events occurred in the late 1980s, in the infamous Caracazo, when the fall in oil prices caused an external crisis, inflation, and food shortages, which eventually, after the announcement of a neoliberal economic package that included the i…

What is the 'Classical Dichotomy'?