Chapter 12 provides a description of need-satisfaction in the contemporary world: it does not explain what we observe. Such findings raise questions for each of the Three Worlds’. What, if any, is the contribution of economic growth, as conventionally defined and measured, to the level and distribution of need-satisfaction? What other political and social institutions and processes are at work? Why have the more developed state socialist societies failed to live up to their explicit goals to raise levels of need-satisfaction above those in the West? What explains the widely different achievements of nations within the First and Third worlds? These questions raise profound issues of politics and economics which cannot be tackled thoroughly here. What we shall attempt in this chapter is an outline of some of the components of a political economy of need-satisfaction for each of the Three Worlds’ as well as an agenda for future research.
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