Rethinking Development Strategies after the Financial Crisis

Volume II - Country Studies and International Comparisons

image of Rethinking Development Strategies after the Financial Crisis
The recent economic trends and the challenges posed by the global crisis reinforce the importance of implementing strategies for development as opposed to leaving the economy to market forces. Countries need a strategic compass for long-run economic development, either explicitly or implicitly. Among other ingredients, this comprises macroeconomic policies, sectoral policies (including the financial sector, trade and industrial policies), institution building in key areas and development-friendly global governance. Within a chosen medium- or even long-term strategy, governments need more policy space to adjust to the specific (and evolving) social, historical and institutional context. The experience of Asia shows that rather than implementing narrow and rigid general guidelines, experimental approaches – which require policy space – are a recipe for success. Furthermore, the slow-growth periods endured by several countries (the “lost decades”) allowed inferring which policies should be avoided. The authors of this publication share the notion that developing countries can and should learn more from each other, as well as from their own past experience. It is important to look at comparisons between developing countries, including both success and failure stories. In this second volume, seven country studies contribute to this approach. From this perspective, poor economic results in developing regions and transition economies in the 1980s and 1990s have to be compared with rapid output growth and social improvements in the two preceding decades, as well as the 2000s. Several factors have contributed to explaining these contrasts. In particular, the existence of a developmental State that uses its room for manoeuvre to act on both the supply and demand side is a common denominator of most successful experiences. On the contrary, neoliberal policies that restrained the role of the State in the economy and dismissed the need to preserve any policy space prevailed in the slow-growing regions during the lost decades.



The enigma of the "Indian model" of development

The present chapter is an attempt to unveil the enigma of the “Indian model” of development. After discussing the evolution of India’s development policies over the last six decades, the paper attempts to unfold India’s development trajectory. It shows how, despite India’s lost opportunity to be a part of the Asian Miracle of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, the country finally emerged as a global player in the last couple of decades. However, the Indian model of development, principally driven by rapid expansion of high-end knowledge-intensive sectors, comes with a tragic neglect of low-end labourintensive mass manufactures. From an agriculture-dominated economy, India straight away jumped to an economic structure, albeit with a transition period of three or four decades, in which services and high-end manufacturing assumed the lead role. This development model is not only inequitable in the extreme, but it is also a prescription for political volatility and is definitely not a sustainable development model, especially in a democracy.


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