National and Regional Patterns of Convergence and Divergence
Edited by John Adams and Francesco Pigliaru
: economic growth and change John Adams and Francesco Pigliaru In the long march of human affairs, economic growth is a new idea and a new reality. Only in the past 200 years has the possibility of cumulative secular gains in output been convincingly established by such leader countries as England and the United States and such follower states as Germany, Japan, Korea and Brazil. After World War II, the judgement that the people of every nation are entitled to experience rising standards of living has pervaded all corners of the globe. The quest to discover exactly what combinations of conditions and policies will ignite growth in varied contexts has become the search for the holy grail in modern aggregate economics. On a practical basis, governments that fail to motivate and steer amplifying economic capacities, in order to meet their citizens’ rising expectations, are questioned, challenged and more than occasionally pulled down. The global community has scant patience with backsliders in the modern integrated international economy. Firstaid teams from international agencies and major commercial partners show up in capital cities just as soon as macroeconomic and financial indicators point downwards. Fellow tradeassociation participants prod laggards impatiently when their growth momentum stalls, in recognition of the linkages and spillovers that bind together nations’ economic fortunes. David Landes titles his new study of longterm growth in economic history, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor (1998). His explanation for comparative growth trajectories...