Disparities between the economic development of nations have widened throughout the twentieth century, and they show no sign of closing. In the nineteenth century, the economic potential of developed countries was three times that of the rest of the world. Today the gap is twenty times greater, and the trend is increasing. In this provocative reexamination of theories of accelerated development, or "e;catching up,"e; Vladislav L. Inozemtsev traces the evolution of thinking about how countries lagging behind can most swiftly move forward, and assesses their prospects for success in this effort.Inozemtsev reviews the experience of the Soviet Union, as well as the recent experience of Japan, China, and Southeast Asia. He finds that those countries that have moved forward most rapidly have successfully adapted new technology to old processes. But even then, they face daunting odds, as they grapple with the need to change their population's ideas and behavior. And in the 1990s, their rates of development have noticeably declined. "e;Catching Up"e; assesses prospects for successful application of theories of accelerated development in the global economy. Inozemtsev's pessimistic conclusion is that rapid industrial progress is not achievable in the information society of the twenty-first century.Inozemtsev reaches this conclusion after reviewing theories of accelerated development thinking from the diverse viewpoints of the 1940s and 1950s, to the more intensive ideological polarization of the 1960s. Inozemtsev believes it will be impossible for non-Western nations to "e;catch up"e; with the West because of their inability to generate or control information and knowledge.
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