Book Launch: Catch Up

A book launch of Catch Up, Developing Countries in the World Economy by Prof. Deepak Nayyar, Emeritus Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India and Vice Chair of the Board of the South Centre, was held in conjunction with the South Centre Conference held on 19 March 2014 in Geneva. Below is an abstract of the book.

The object of this book is to analyze the evolution of developing countries in the world economy, situated in a long term historical perspective, from the onset of the second millennium but with a focus on the second half of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first century. It is perhaps among the first to address this theme on such a wide canvas that spans both time and space.

In doing so, it highlights the overwhelming significance of what are now developing countries in the world until 200 years ago to trace their decline and fall from 1820 to 1950. The six decades since then have witnessed an increase in the share of developing countries not only in world population and world income but also in international trade, international investment, industrial production and manufactured exports which gathered momentum after 1980.

The book explores the factors underlying this fall and rise to discuss the ongoing catch up in the world economy driven by industrialization and economic growth. Their impressive performance, disaggregated analysis shows, is characterized by uneven development. There is an exclusion of countries and people from the process. The catch up is concentrated in a few countries. Growth has often not been transformed into meaningful development that improves the wellbeing of people.

Yet, the beginnings of a shift in the balance of power in the world economy are discernible. But developing countries can sustain this rise only if they can transform themselves into inclusive societies where economic growth, human development and social progress move in tandem. Their past could then be a pointer to their future.

Comments on the book

`Essential reading for anyone who wants to get a balanced understanding of the history of the world economy. It offers a breath-taking historical sweep. A masterpiece. ´

-Ha-Joon Chang, University of Cambridge, author of Kicking Away the Ladder and 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism

`Nayyar analyzes lucidly the ongoing change and discusses forcefully the prospects for this great transformation, how it will be brought about, and what it will imply for the world order which will emerge.´

-Joseph Stiglitz, University Professor, Columbia University, New York, and Nobel Laureate in Economics


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