Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Myrdal’s “Asian Drama” (Review Article)

The publication by one of Europe’s greatest scholars about the world’s most important problem area is an event of the first order. The scholar I mean is Myrdal and the area South-Asia. I am happy to offer some comments on this book, called “Asian Drama”, with the well-chosen subtitle “An Inquiry into the Poverty of Nations” [1], both because of its merits and because of the challenges it contains to somebody so sympathetic to the author’s view and at the same time so full of doubt with regard to a number of methodological issues raised. The book covers an impressive multitude of subjects and is fascinating in many respects. It brings a good deal of history of the area, from before its political independence obtained after World War II, to to-day and gives a lot of interesting background information in Chapters 4 and 5 on how the frontiers of the countries were established. It gives pictures of the great leaders of in¬dependence, Gandhi (pp.92, 754-55 for some striking elements), Nehru and Jinnah. It deals extensively with the backgrounds and consequences of Parti¬tion (Chapter 6) and with the not-too-good role the French and the Dutch played (p. 226) in their colonies.

Jan Tinbergbn

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