Redistribution before Growth — A Strategy for Developing Countries

  • I. Adelman
Part of the Institute of Social Studies book series (ISDS, volume 5)


The liberal assumption on which policies of, and towards, developing countries were based was that economic growth and social modernization would take care of poverty. That, with perhaps a slight delay, the benefits of economic growth would trickle down to the poorest segments of society. This growth optimism seems to have been invalidated by the recent Third World experience. Average income per head in the Third World has grown more rapidly in the last two decades than ever before. But so have unemployment, families, malnutrition, abject poverty, and hunger. The income gap between the richest members of developing societies and the poorest has in most developing countries risen. Not infrequently, the absolute real income of the poorest has actually dropped in these decades of accelerated growth. The implications are clear — they require major rethinking of development theory and policy.


Comparative Advantage Political Participation Physical Capital Import Substitution Land Reform 
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  1. This section draws upon S.P. Huntington and J.M. Nelson: No Easy Choice (Harvard Press, 1976 ).Google Scholar
  2. See Hung-chao Tai: Land Reform and Politics (University of California Press, 1974).Google Scholar

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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers bv, The Hague 1979

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  • I. Adelman

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