top of page

NONTHEMATIC / Vol. 23, No. 4 (Winter 1956)

As the variety of goods constituting the product mix increases, inter-industry competition becomes greater. No firm can lead the quiet life, for although it may have nothing to fear from within the industry, the crucial threats come from outside. While the economists of the new competition thus proclaim that appearances are deceptive and that prices, after all, are not much greater than marginal costs, the publicists and staff writers of the business press hail the vindication of large-scale enterprise.

In the drive toward economic development that characterizes most of the new independent nations of Southeast Asia today, the factor of the social structure's sensitivity to the implementation of various development plans has become increasingly important. Each Southeast Asian country is still to a large extent a nation of nations, a more or less effective union of incredibly diverse societies, ethnic and religious groups, each with its own structure and dynamics, which by their very multiplicity and complexity defy uniform programs of directed economic change.

Economic analysis of underdeveloped countries is itself still underdeveloped. On the one hand, when rigorous analysis is attempted, the scope of the theory is usually too narrow. On the other hand, when economists attempt to broaden their approach in discussing economically underdeveloped areas, the result is frequently rather vague and diffuse. This paper constitutes a modest attempt to broaden the scope of the economic theory of less developed countries within a framework that allows for rigorous treatment.

[reprinted in 51:2 50th Anniversary Issue Pt. 2]

The position taken in this paper is: first, that a capital-intensive form of economic organization introduced into a traditional social structure may under certain conditions come to act as an engine for economic development, may stimulate reform of the traditional structure toward a more productive pattern of adaptation; second, that the ways in which such stimulation can fail to occur, in which the juncture of modern forms of economic organization and traditional ones can misfire and lead to cultural disintegration on the part of the economically weaker group, are more numerous and more easily realized than the ways in which it can go right.

Since National Bolshevism had adherents among both extremes of the German political scene, it never really emerged as one well defined doctrine with the same meaning for all its advocates. It always remained a series of nebulous generalities to which each side gave its own interpretation, designed to serve its particular interests.

Review of book by Wu Yuan-Li. New York: Bookman Associates. 1956. 566 pp.

Review of book by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. 1955. 486 pp.

Review of book by Barbara W. Tuchman. New York: New York University Press. 1956. xiv & 268 pp.

Review of book by Raymond Aron. Paris: Calmann-Levy. 1955. 337 pp.

bottom of page