Thursday, April 30, 2009

Enthralling Capitalism

Why are poor nations still "enthralled with capitalism"? Dani Rodrik asks. Commenting on an article by Arvind Subramanian, Rodrik wonders why poor countries aren't having their own vigorous debates about the necessity of checks on rampant, rapacious capitalism.

First, is it possible to make such a sweeping claim? If I look to the continent south of my own, for example, I don't see many countries that I'd say were "enthralled with capitalism." Nonetheless, for countries such as India and China doesn't the answer have something to do with the slow move away from poorly functioning state-run economies? That's basically the conclusion of Subramanian's piece. But surely Rodrik is far too sweeping. He writes, "Arvind is being a bit too charitable here to the developing nations. I am afraid one cannot rule out the possibility that poor nations are yet again falling behind the curve."

We can set aside the exuberance of the "enthralled claim" and the similarly sensational claim that poor nations are indeed enthralled but now wrong after a couple of centuries of telling them to go that route. Actually, the large industrialized nations may just possibly be coming around to the view that, in some ways, developing nations are ahead of the curve in their suspicions of ideological capitalism.

1 comment:

troutsky said...

Many "developing" nations are still young and enthralled with democracy. They are discovering the dialectical tension between it and capitalism. It is easy for writers to conjoin the two.