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Global 21 fourth quarter 2015

Arena Development pristine frontier areas can have devastating ecological impacts. The most efficient governments for achieving development are often dictatorships. The human rights abuses that have been perpetrated by dictatorships set on achieving and retaining power no matter what have been appalling. Even in non-dictatorships, development has led to mass rape, war and genocide, notably in patriarchal nations. The list of the adverse side effects of development could be extended indefinitely. All economic processes have their dark sides. New productive industries drive out old traditional craftworkers who have no place to go On balance, though, the effect of development has been positive. It is hard to argue with Firebaugh and Beck’s argument that development has dramatically reduced hunger in the world and given an ever-increasing share of the world’s population access to modern medical care. What matters is that it is important to reduce adverse side effects that have been unpleasant accompaniments to development. If development were to ever produce side effects that were truly catastrophic, this would be a crisis in development. At the global level, how robust is the economic growth produced by development? If one considers the long-term history of the world economy, it is striking how the world economy has just Four great constraints There are four fundamental determinants of long-term growth that tend to receive insufficient attention in the literature, but represent critical and fundamental choke points that could severely constrain economic development in future generations, possibly in both Global South and North. The four great constraints are: ■■ Limits to the state’s capacity to provide the physical and human infrastructure essential for growth ■■ Limits to societal capacity to recover from the exhaustion of technological product cycles ■■ Entrepreneurial stagnation caused by excessive class inequality ■■ Limits to economic/entrepreneurial activity and social reproduction/well-being caused by excessive female economic disempowerment kept growing and growing. Table 1 (overleaf) shows the GDP per capita of the world from 1820 to 2013. The data for the most part comes from the Maddison Project: an attempt by Angus Maddison, a prominent economic historian, to measure the GDP for every nation in the world going back to AD 0. The estimates for early periods are very speculative and the reader should view the estimate for 1820 with caution. The data for the remaining years is more or less accurate. © Arturo Limon / Shutterstock.com global four th quar ter 2015 www.global -br ief ing.org l 35


Global 21 fourth quarter 2015
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