Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Economic Development and Development Economics (Presidential Address)

To state that development economics is about economic development is now considered beyond debate. But opinions differ about what constitutes economic development and its proper index; in particular whether the growth of per capita income adequately captures its flavour. Thus, instead of being regarded, a La Lewis, as just a synonym for capital accumulation going above a certain critical level, development economics is now also required to respond to such challenges as raising the quality of life that people succeed in achieving by living longer; by being more literate in addition to being more prosperous; and, environmentally speaking, by making the development process sustainable. Indeed, our discipline is being asked to encompass an ever wider set of problems and venture into domains where it has not entered before: namely, the choices that people make; the economic and political freedoms they enjoy; the heavy incidence of poverty among the least privileged in the society, including the rural poor; the unjust social and economic structures that must be changed; the regulatory framework that needs to be evolved to enable the market to work-hopefully in the interest of the society. What complicates matters even more is that to be able to address many of these issues, development economics must transcend the self-imposed boundaries of strict positivism and acquire an overarching ethical vision. If mainstream economics is (rightly) regarded as a difficult science, development economics is even more so.

Syed Nawab Haider Naqvi

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