Can an unwilling horse be made drink?
In his critique of the newer approach in economic development emphasizing institutional reforms, Ha-Joon Chang, in his article titled ‘Institutions and Economic Development: Theory, Policy and History’, equates New Institutional Economics with the program of liberal reforms for least developed countries (LDCs) and blames the former for the alleged failure of the latter. He argues with some justice that the dominant discourse in New Institutional Economics insufficiently appreciates the complexity of institutions; as a consequence, the difficulty of transplanting institutions is largely discounted. His case, however, is marred by his attempt to push down his ideological biases by marshalling inchoate, highly questionable and often contradictory ideas as facts. Going beyond a critical examination of the New Institutional Economics inspired discourse in development economics, he advocates his own version of beneficial development policies for LDCs – namely, economic democracy and industrial policies. His proposals are not only highly questionable, but they amount to adopting a double standard of exempting himself from the very criticisms he levies against New Institutional Economics – ignoring the difficulty of importing foreign institutions. Presuming to play God, like many development economists, he ignores the essential fact that an unwilling horse cannot be made to drink.
Volume (Year): 7 (2011)
Issue (Month): 04 (December)
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