Trade and Development Report 1987

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This publication identifies the key issues in the global economy and the design of development strategies addressed in the Trade and Development Report over the past three decades, tracing them through its various editions. It shows how ideas, opinions and proposals expressed in the Trade and Development Report, and the analytical approaches used, differed from those of “the mainstream” and their evolution in response to new challenges. This review revisits the concept of interdependence and explains the approach of the reports to macroeconomic and financial policies in both developed and developing countries. It also summarizes development policy failures and successes over the years.



Implications for the future of international trade and development

Three main conclusions emerge from the four preceding chapters. The first is that, among the many forces which seem to drive international trade, technology is very important. Because of the spread of industrialization, it is becoming increasingly difficult to view trade as the mere outcome of specialization by countries trying to exploit inherited natural advantages. Rather, trade is determined by competitive advantage, and competitive advantage is itself created by the knowledge accumulated or generated by individual enterprises through learning and experience, through acquisition from other enterprises or entities, and through R and D. Although all three of these sources of knowledge are associated with technological innovation, it is the first which is the most important, because it is a necessary element in determining the ability both to adopt and to generate new knowledge.


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