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How rich nations got rich. Essays in the history of economic policy


  • Reinert, Erik S.


The debate around the effects of globalization is both widening and deepening. While some nations, like India and China – countries that have consciously built a manufacturing sector for five decades – come across as winners, a large number of smaller Third World nations seem to lose out under globalisation. The problem of failing and failed states is growing. In response to the increasing challenges, the focal points of the Washington Institutions – the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – have changed over the last 15 years, reflecting a growing recognition of the complexities of economic development. The present three essays approach the globalization problem from a different angle, by raising the question of what precisely the presently rich nations did in order to get rich. The essays document what, historically, have been the successful formulas carrying nations from poverty to wealth, and suggest that the moving target of Washington Consensus policies does not reflect or consider the experiences of the historically successful cases of nations taking the step from poor to wealthy.

Suggested Citation

  • Reinert, Erik S., 2004. "How rich nations got rich. Essays in the history of economic policy," MPRA Paper 48147, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:48147

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jan Fagerberg & Bart Verspagen & G. N. von Tunzelmann (ed.), 1994. "The Dynamics Of Technology, Trade And Growth," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 163, April.
    2. Erik S. Reinert, 1999. "The role of the state in economic growth," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 26(4/5), pages 268-326, September.
    3. Arthur, W Brian, 1989. "Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-In by Historical Events," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(394), pages 116-131, March.
    4. Wolfgang Drechsler, 2000. "Etienne Laspeyres' History of the Economic Thought of the Netherlanders: A Law & Economics Classic?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 235-242, November.
    5. Erik S. Reinert & Arno M. Daastøl, 2004. "The Other Canon: The History of Renaissance Economics," Chapters,in: Globalization, Economic Development and Inequality, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Cosimo Perrotta, 1991. "Is the Mercantilist Theory of the Favorable Balance of Trade Really Erroneous?," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 301-336, Summer.
    7. Reinert, Erik S., 1995. "Competitiveness and its predecessors--a 500-year cross-national perspective," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 23-42, March.
    8. Wolfgang Drechsler, 2004. "Natural versus Social Sciences: On Understanding in Economics," Chapters,in: Globalization, Economic Development and Inequality, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Erik S. Reinert, 2000. "Full circle: economics from scholasticism through innovation and back into mathematical scholasticism: Reflections on a 1769 Price essay: “Why is it that economics so far has gained so few advantages ," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 27(4/5), pages 364-376, September.
    10. Frank D. Graham, 1923. "Some Aspects of Protection Further Considered," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(2), pages 199-227.
    11. Grimmer-Solem, Erik, 2003. "The Rise of Historical Economics and Social Reform in Germany 1864-1894," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199260416.
    12. Small, Albion W., 1909. "The Cameralists. The Pioneers of German Social Polity," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number small1909.
    13. Michael Hudson, 2004. "Technical Progress and Obsolescence of Capital and Skills: Theoretical Foundations of Nineteenth-Century US Industrial and Trade Policy," Chapters,in: Globalization, Economic Development and Inequality, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexandre Mendes Cunha, 2011. "Polizei and the System of Public Finance: Tracing the Impact of Cameralism in Eighteenth-Century Portugal," Chapters,in: The Dissemination of Economic Ideas, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Reinert, Erik S., 2006. "Institutionalism Ancient, Old and New: A Historical Perspective on Institutions and Uneven Development," WIDER Working Paper Series 077, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. repec:spr:epolit:v:35:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s40888-018-0094-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Reinert, Erik S. & Kattel, Rainer, 2004. "The Qualitative Shift in European Integration: Towards permanent wage pressures and a ‘Latin-Americanization’ of Europe?," MPRA Paper 47909, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. -, 2017. "Políticas industriales y tecnológicas en América Latina," Documentos de Proyectos 42363, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).

    More about this item


    Economic history; economic development; German Historical School; institutions; modern economic thought; globalisation;

    JEL classification:

    • B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • B20 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - General
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development


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