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How rich nations got rich. Essays in the history of economic policy.

Reinert, Erik S. (2004): How rich nations got rich. Essays in the history of economic policy. Published in: Working paper No. 2004/01 (2004)


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The debate around the effects of globalization is both widening and deepening. While some nations, like India and China – countries that have consciously built a manufacturing sector for five decades – come across as winners, a large number of smaller Third World nations seem to lose out under globalisation. The problem of failing and failed states is growing. In response to the increasing challenges, the focal points of the Washington Institutions – the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – have changed over the last 15 years, reflecting a growing recognition of the complexities of economic development.

The present three essays approach the globalization problem from a different angle, by raising the question of what precisely the presently rich nations did in order to get rich. The essays document what, historically, have been the successful formulas carrying nations from poverty to wealth, and suggest that the moving target of Washington Consensus policies does not reflect or consider the experiences of the historically successful cases of nations taking the step from poor to wealthy.

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