Compressed Development

Compressed Development: Time and Timing in Economic Development is a collaboration between D. Hugh Whittaker, Timothy Sturgeon, Toshie Okita, and Tianbiao Zhu, published by Oxford University Press. The book is reviewed for JCA by Nahee Kang of the Department of International Development, King’s College London.

Kang suggests that an important question development scholarship is:

to what extent do the economic and social development experiences derived through the East Asian Tiger’s experience speak to “the rest”…. Compressed Development explores this question by comparing the “early” compressed developers (Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan) with the “late” compressed developers (China, Brazil, and India). The key argument of the book is that the challenges faced by late compressed developers are significantly different because of the “time” factor.

She considers the book, despite an ambitious framework, is an “impressive” and “original” study of “globalisation and development that offers a framework for bringing the building major blocks of political economy – states, markets, organisations, and technology – into a mutually constitutive relationship rather than in opposition, all the while accommodating for changes over time.”

Kang applauds the authors for taking “the time factor seriously, grounding their research in the classical traditions of both Leon Trotsky and Alexander Gerschenkron on ‘late’ development.” In doing this, “the authors take into consideration not only ‘timing’ of early and late industrial take-off, but also ‘speed’ of growth, underscoring that industrial processes…”.

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