Discover more from Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality
Lecture Rehearsals: 4.1. False (& True) Starts to Development, 1911-1990
From the fall 2021 version of my 20th Century Economic History Course
4.1.1. False (& True) Starts to Development, 1911-1990: Overview
Great hopes for rapid growth in and the “convergence” of the global south to the global north starting in 1950. very disappointing realities—at least up to 1995 or so.
(11:17) https://watch.mmhmm.app/z_iNPWXeRdrE9X7Zqn8F7y https://kaf.berkeley.edu/media/t/1_mp2viq0r
4.1.2. Variations in Patterns of Development & Underdevelopment
Strongly different, but overwhelmingly disappointing economic development experiences in the years before 1990.
4.1.3. African Retardation
African economic-development retardation vis-a-vis the rest of the global south happens only after 1950—only after decolonization’s beginnings. before then Africa’s prospects were seen as relatively bright, certainly with respect to East and South Asia and possibly with respect to Latin America. Yet the post-1950 African retardation is astonishingly strong and continent-wide—at least south of the Sahara. What was a common factor that might have been responsible? We are drawn to consider the long-run effects of the enormous slave trades inflicted on and that afflicted Africa.
(10:37) https://watch.mmhmm.app/z_3GMkw8ZamT43quqINiX3 https://kaf.berkeley.edu/media/t/1_pfhy3xbl
4.1.4. Patterns Driving Divergence
What could the patterns driving “divergence” be? Governance, yes. But there are lots more vicious circles at work here in the failure of convergence to show itself.
(09:21) https://watch.mmhmm.app/z_4uLpyLDMhB9h2Lkq0FyY https://kaf.berkeley.edu/media/t/1_9gapj1k7
And then—on both left and right—there was the retardation imposed on prospects for economic development by the attachment of rulers and those who advised them to ideologies...
4.1.7. Developmental States & Neoliberal Turns
Taking a cynical perspective, perhaps the miracle is that there was so much. And as for convergence? Either you had to be a Marshall Plan recipient, or you had to be on the East Asian Pacific Rim. Otherwise? The only live option seemed to be the neoliberal turn—shrink the predatory state so that it could do less damage, and rely on integration into the globalized market. It was, in a sense, a counsel of despair.