Chapter

Ideas, Ideology, and Economic Policy

Deepak Lal and H. Myint

in The Political Economy of Poverty, Equity and Growth: A Comparative Study

Published in print October 1998 | ISBN: 9780198294320
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596582 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198294328.003.0008
 Ideas, Ideology, and Economic Policy

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Some of the deeper political and ideological factors that can help in explaining different policies and growth, and poverty‐alleviation outcomes in the sample of developing countries examined in the book are addressed. In this chapter, the interplay of ideas and ideology in the formulation of economic policy is introduced. The dominant ideology of economic nationalism is put into historical perspective, as reminiscent of the nation‐building sought by the absolutist monarchies of Renaissance Europe; the similarities between their mercantilist systems of government control and the dirigiste economic policies of developing countries are highlighted. The impetus for reform in both cases is shown to be the paradoxical promotion of economic disorder by attempts to increase the span of government control. The process of economic liberalization (liberalism) in the nineteenth‐century Age of Reform and the current wave in the Third (and Second) World are shown to stem from the same desire of nation‐builders to reassert control over economics made increasingly ungovernable by past dirigisme.

Keywords: developing countries; dirigisme; economic growth; economic policy; government control; liberalism; mercantilism; nationalism; nation‐building; policy formulation; poverty alleviation

Chapter.  8392 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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