ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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New Economies-Facts That Do Not Fit

A Correspondent writes : THE publication of the UN World Economic Survey for 1971 has come at an inconvenient time for those who have been trying to convince the less developed countries that they have been misguided in their "hot pursuit" of high rates of economic growth. The argument that these countries should now launch a direct attack on the worst forms of poverty, in the process accepting lower rates of growth of GNP if necessary, has rested heavily on the example of the People's Republic of China. In his celebrated "Let Us Stand Economic Theory on Its Head" article, Mahbuh ul Haq says: "It appears that within a period of less than two decades, China has eradicated the worst forms of poverty; if has full employment, universal literacy and adequate health facilities; it suffers from no obvious malnutrition or squalor. What's more, it was my impression that China has achieved this at fairly modest rates of growth ... In fact, China has proved that it is a fallacy that poverty can be removed and full employment achieved only at high rates of growth It is not surprising that Mahbub ul Haq has been overnight hailed as a new messiah by the governments of countries like India which found in his formulation the perfect excuse for their past economic failures. They could now claim that they had been misled (by their own economists and, worse, by their foreign advisers from the developed countries) into pursuing the wrong objective, growth of GNP, when they should have sought other goals like full employment and a minimum level of living for their people. Now they had seen the light and so the future would be altogether different from the past.

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