The main economic ideas of Dadabhai Naoroji, Mahadev Govind Ranade, and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi are discussed in terms of their analysis of poverty and its causes, their economic methodology, their normative ideas about development, and their prescriptions for fostering economic development, with a view to addressing some questions about the history of recent development economics. First, in what sense, if any, is it accurate to say that development economics was born after World War II and these thinkers should be seen as precursors? Second, was the development economics that was born at the time poor? Third, has development economics more recently become more enriched? It will be suggested that greater appreciation of these Indian economic thinkers has implications for these questions.
Aspects of Indian Economic Thought and the Birth and Poverty of Development Economics
Amitava Krishna Dutt is professor of economics and political science at the Department of Political Science, University of Notre Dame, and Distinguished Professor at FLACSO-Ecuador. He writes and teaches on international development, political economy of growth and distribution, and the history of political economy. He is the author of several books, including Growth, Distribution, and Uneven Development (1990) and Pathways to Economic Development (2014), and of numerous articles published in journals such as American Economic Review, Cambridge Journal of Economics, History of Political Economy, Journal of Development Economics, and World Development.
Amitava Krishna Dutt; Aspects of Indian Economic Thought and the Birth and Poverty of Development Economics. History of Political Economy 1 December 2018; 50 (S1): 59–75. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182702-7033848
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