A Review of ‘The Record of Global Economic Development’, by Eric L. Jones
EH.NET BOOK REVIEW, March, 2003
Posted: 18 Jan 2010
Date Written: 2003
A key objective of this book is to show that (p. vii) "plain economic history can help pick out the more durable of the arrangements that favour growth." He argues that the conditions favoring long run growth are largely political and include competitive markets, free trade, decentralized institutions, democracy, the rule of law, and property rights. These themes surface throughout the text, although free trade and anti-protectionism are the more dominant ones. This is, in part, a response to the contemporary anti-free trade and anti-globalization 'populism' that has gained force in recent years. In his focus upon the importance of political factors to the growth and development process, Jones joins a growing literature on the subject exemplified in the work of North (1990), Olson (2000) and, of course, Jones (1981). Additionally, Jones takes aim at the thesis that 'culture matters' with regards to either promoting or impeding long run economic growth. Culture, he contends, ultimately adjusts to economic change. Jones' critique of the 'culture matters' perspective, however, is largely focused upon a critique of Deepak Lal-type (1998) theses that East Asian values are superior to 'Western' values in terms of facilitating, fostering, and maintaining socio-economic development.
Keywords: Book review, Global Economic Development, Economic history, Growth
JEL Classification: Y30, O40, N10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation