The poverty of neoclassical development economics

Posted: 28 October 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Neoclassical economist Jagdish Bhagwati argues against redistribution as a way of solving the problem of poverty.

There’s nothing surprising there. Like all other neoclassical economists, Bhagwati promotes economic growth, not redistribution, as a solution to the problem of poverty in the Third World.*

But he does worry that the “growth-first model” is, once again, being called into question, because of obscene levels of inequality. So, he does offer one suggestion:

the political sustainability of the growth-first model requires both symbolic and material efforts. While growth does benefit the poor, the rich often benefit disproportionately. So, to keep the poor committed to the system as their economic aspirations are aroused, the wealthy would be well advised to indulge less in conspicuous consumption.

* Note also that, in the world of neoclassical development economics, the redistribution of income is presented as the only alternative. What Bhagwati and other neoclassical economists fail to consider is a policy that would both eliminate poverty and create a more equitable distribution of income: a redistribution of assets.

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Comments
  1. [...] * Originally written around 2003-4. A shameless pun on “mote observer” and “remote observer.” I was aimlessly ambling around a shopping centre when it occurred to me that I wasn’t a very ‘good’ consumer as I had no immediate needs or wants, other than to watch everyone else! This one appeared on David Barnes’ Numbat Poetry Website Vol. III and a great pioneering poetry website called Indie Journal (US) back in 2004 – sadly defunct and unarchived. image [...]

  2. […] time, then, to try something new. A new kind of analysis. And a new set of policies. Starting, as I have argued before, with a redistribution of assets. Unfortunately, that’s an option that is never even […]

  3. […] time, then, to try something new. A new kind of analysis. And a new set of policies. Starting, as I have argued before, with a redistribution of assets. Unfortunately, that’s an option that is never even mentioned by […]

  4. ishi says:

    actually sen argued for something like that as i understood it—-he dealt with ‘capabilities’ (see NYR nussbaum in the 90′s). capabilities deals with all sort of assets or capital (human, social financial ecological material etc).

    course, sen is at harvard so he doesn’t walk the talk. instead, like stiglitz he gets another grant cALCULATING WHAT DALY AND COBBS CALLED THE GENUINE PROGRESS INDICATOR. bhagwati i guess is at columbia like jeffrey sachs who has reinvented himself as champion of the poor, some of whom he may have created . half a nice day.

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