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Human Development in the Era of Globalization

Essays in Honor of Keith B. Griffin

Edited by James K. Boyce, Stephen Cullenberg, Prasanta K. Pattanaik and Robert Pollin

Honoring Keith Griffin’s more than 40 years of fundamental contributions to the discipline of economics, the papers in this volume reflect his deep commitment to advancing the well-being of the world’s poor majority and his unflinching willingness to question conventional wisdom as to how this should be done.
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Chapter 10: Globalization and the Transition to Egalitarian Development

Robert Pollin


* Robert Pollin Keith Griffin is one of the giants of economics in our time. His writings on egalitarian development are of course prodigious and highly influential. But what sets him apart from even other leading thinkers in this field is his focus not simply on what should be done to advance an egalitarian development path, but also the specific means through which a more equal society that is also sustainable might actually be achieved. This should not be surprising, since many of Griffin’s most important works emerged out of specific projects in which he was advising governments throughout the world on precisely the question of how to advance a workable transition toward egalitarian development. The Transition to Egalitarian Development (co-authored with Jeffrey James, 1981) was the title of just one of his many works reflecting this set of concerns and approach to research. I have been absorbing the strong force field emanating from Keith Griffin since we first became colleagues at the University of California, Riverside in 1988. As a political economist of the left, I always assumed part of my job description was to think about what might be realistic strategies for moving capitalist societies from where they are today to where we would like them to be in the not-too-distant future. I confess to having at times felt frustration by the relative lack of attention among like-minded colleagues to this issue. Keith Griffin ponders this and related matters – the ‘how to get from here to there’ questions – every...

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