Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Amiya Kumar Bagchi. The Political Economy of Underdevelopment. London: Cambridge University Press. 1982. Reprint 1983. pp.viii+276. List of books for further reading; Index. Price: £ 8.50 (paperback edition).

Author: Zia Ul Haq

Amiya Kumar Bagchi, an eminent economist of the modern Cambridge tradition, has produced a timely treatise, in a condensed form, on the development problems of the Third World countries. The author’s general thesis is that economic development in the developing societies necessarily requires a radical transformation in the economic, social and political structures. As economic development is actually a social process, economic growth should not be narrowly defined as the growth of the stock of rich capitalists. Neither can their savings be equated to capital formation whose impact on income will presumably ‘trickle down’ to the working classes. Economic growth strategies must not aim at creating rich elites, because, according to the author, “maximizing the surplus in the hands of the rich in the Third World is not, however, necessarily a way of maximizing the rate of growth”.

Zia Ul Haq

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