Chapter 1: Introduction: Catch-Up
THE CATCH-UP Starting the catch-up process is by itself a great feat for a backward economy. Catch-up, however, is not always an uneventful process. The country might fall into a chaotic stagnation for an indeﬁnite period of time or might even return to backwardness at halfway. Catch-up necessarily involves a certain speciﬁc form of institutionalization, but an institutionalization which might well breed the seeds of an eventual catastrophe and possible self-destruction. There may have to be a fundamental restructuring of the initial institutional setting at certain point in time, in order to avoid the possible disastrous end. Catch-up is very much like taking inter-state turnpikes to travel from a destitute backward state to an advanced state of material aﬄuence. Unless the latecomer is prepared to repeat a more than, say, two or three hundredyear journey of its own (very chancy) industrial revolution and the following natural evolution, it has to take turnpikes. Unfortunately, however, there is neither a ready-made passageway to a turnpike at the point of departure, nor any ready-made ramps connecting to other turnpikes that one may have to switch to at various junctions on the way to the ﬁnal destination. Once on a turnpike, there is no built-in force to switch automatically to another turnpike or to get oﬀ it at the right moment. There is, furthermore, no ready-made ramp connecting to other turnpike or local highway either. What is more, the kinetic energy or the law or inertia is somewhat conducive to keeping...
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