A Tale of Two Hands’ (Presidential Address)

Publication Year : 1986

This may not be the “worst of times” for the discipline of development economics, but this is also not the “best of times” for it. The discipline, rocked by a kind of schizophrenia that its votaries appear to be suffering from, is undergoing a painful, though not necessarily a Kafkaesque, metamorphosis. The consensus of the decades of the Fifties and Sixties about the nature and legitimacy of the discipline and about its ‘world-view’ has been seriously strained – indeed, according to some ‘observers’, already broken down. While the defenders of the faith [27; 36; 48] refuse to surrender, some of its erstwhile votaries [11] wish to force on the discipline a Carthaginian peace. And the dissenters [3; 24] have subjected its predictions and prescriptions to the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”

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