The Pioneers of Development Economics: Great Economists on Development

ed. by Jomo K.S.

First published in (2005)

2006 (second edition)


xvi + 236 pages

9.5 x 6.25 inches

ISBN: 81-89487-16-7

Rs 335

For sale in India and South Asia only

The history of modern economic thought associated with the emergence of industrial capitalism over two centuries ago was preoccupied with the question of economic transformation or development. This volume surveys important contributions to the economics of development by various economists, including many not normally considered as pioneers of development economics.

The two chapters following the Introduction point to the role of imperialist considerations in the early economic thought influencing the development discourse. Hugh Goodacre underscores the role of such considerations in William Petty’s early colonial development policies, while Utsa Patnaik exposes the fundamental fallacy in David Ricardo’s influential theory of comparative advantage in international trade. Next, Mehdi Shafaeddin examines Friedrich List’s mid-nineteenth-century ‘infant industry’ argument, built on the pioneering work of the American ‘founding father’, Alexander Hamilton. Prabhat Patnaik then highlights Karl Marx’s major contributions to development economics. Utsa Patnaik assesses Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s careful treatment of the agrarian question in Russia, contrasting it with the neoclassical economic revival of Chayanov’s populist analysis of peasantries. Renee Prendergast assesses Alfred Marshall’s contributions to thinking on economic development, suggesting much greater nuance than normally attributed to the father of marginal economic analysis. Jayati Ghosh highlights the enduring significance of Michal Kalecki’s political economic approach to the study of post-colonial economies. John Toye underscores the significance for development economics of several less well-known analytical contributions by John Maynard Keynes. Amiya Bagchi then suggests how Nicholas Kaldor advanced Keynesian insights to enhance understanding of economic development. Kari Polanyi Levitt highlights the developmental implications of Karl Polanyi’s diverse contributions, as well as those of development economics pioneers Raúl Prebisch and Arthur Lewis. C.P. Chandrasekhar highlights Alexander Gerschenkron’s novel insights for accelerating economic development from his study of economic history. Finally, Kunibert Raffer surveys Hans Singer’s consistent advocacy of justice in economic development.


Jomo K.S. was Professor in the Applied Economics Department, University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, and Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, before joining the United Nations.