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"One example is collaborative work by the World Bank and Brazil‘s Applied Economics Research Institute (IPEA) that documents the growing role of Brazil‘s collaboration with Sub-Saharan Africa‘s development efforts. The report documents that countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have requested cooperation from Brazil in five key areas."
Lin/Rosenblatt: Shifting patterns of economic growth and rethinking development
From the concluding section: Based on the discussion above of the lessons that can be learned from developing country successes, the World Bank Group‘s knowledge role should not be limited to the transfer of knowledge from the north to the south. It should expand (and is expanding) to include but from the north to south, south to south, and south to north. As noted in the previous section, the multi-polar growth world not only represents shifting economic centers, but also a shifting knowledge base to the new growth poles.
The World Bank Group—with its membership that spans (almost) all developing countries—is particularly well placed among the international organizations for promoting the multi-polar exchange of knowledge.
One example is collaborative work by the World Bank and Brazil‘s Applied Economics Research Institute (IPEA) that documents the growing role of Brazil‘s collaboration with Sub-Saharan Africa‘s development efforts (World Bank and IPEA, 2011). The report documents that countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have requested cooperation from Brazil in five key areas: tropical agriculture, tropical medicine, vocational training (to support the industrial sector), energy, and social protection. (pp45-46)
Introduction: The industrial revolution marked a dramatic turning point in the economic progress of nations. Technological innovation created new tools that created the potential for a dramatic increase in productivity and living standards. During the nineteenth century, a number of technological leaders and early adapters leapt ahead of the rest of the world, while others lagged behind. One might have expected that the twentieth century would have been a period in which technology spread across the world—allowing countries to catch up with advanced economies.
This might have been achieved through trade and capital flows based upon continued progress in transportation and communication technology. In fact, the predominant neo-classical paradigm in economic thinking suggested that this would be the case. Instead, the twentieth century was an unfortunate period of continued and accelerated divergence in living standards. In part, this may have been due to an interruption in trade and capital flows during the World Wars and the inter-war Great Depression that marked the first half of the twentieth century. Protectionism also persisted in many countries following the Second World War.
It was only with the Uruguay Round of negotiations in the 1980s, leading to the eventual establishment of the WTO in 1995, that a clear institutionalized path towards trade opening was established.
Meanwhile, technological progress in communications and transport – but especially communications—facilitated the acceleration of global trade and capital flows in the last quarter of the twentieth century. On the other hand, there was a small group of exceptional cases of "catch-up". In addition, since the turn of the century, there has been reinvigorated growth in the developing world, especially in a number of large developing countries, such as Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and the Russian Federation.
In some cases—most notably, China and India—the high growth period extends back some twenty or thirty years. In addition, there are numerous other countries that are taking advantage of growing trade and financial links – both with developed and developing countries—to accelerate economic growth.
In brief, the global economy has entered a period of multi-polar growth with large developing countries leading the way as the new and most dynamic growth poles. This historical record provides a challenge for economists to fully understand the success of the rising economic powers and re-think the traditional views on economic development.
- Three major questions emerge:
(i) Why was there so much divergence during the twentieth century?
(ii) Why has the pattern changed recently and can it be sustained? And,
(iii) What is the role of development institutions in facilitating sustained convergence?
This paper is organized around these questions. The next section provides a history of 20th century divergence. We then provide an anatomy of the rise of the multi-polar growth world. This is followed by a critique of the history of development thinking and the need for a democratic approach to economic enquiry for development.
We conclude the paper with a brief historical review the role of the multilateral development institutions – with a focus on the World Bank—and how this role is evolving in response to the changes in the global economy.
- Introduction to: Shifting patterns of economic growth and rethinking development, by Justin Yifu Lin and David Rosenblatt. The 55 page paper (Policy Research Working Paper 6040, April 2012) can be accessed here.