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.

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