Problems of Capital Formation in Under-developed Countries, by Ragnar Nurkse; The Progress of Underdeveloped Areas, ed. by Bert
The ancient urge to make two ears of wheat grow where one (or none) grew before has in our days been powerfully reinforced by the impact upon the poorer countries of the example held out by the better-off ones. It is to this “demonstration effect” that we are indebted for so much of the unrest now stirring in the West’s agricultural back yard, and perhaps the historian of our epoch will eventually judge that the United Nations Organization has been important chiefly for having focused world attention on this problem. Indeed, the very fact that there is now an official world organization, and consequently a forum for complaints brought by Abel the farmer against Cain the industrialist, has something to do with the power of the “demonstration effect.” Backward countries no longer live in isolation; the Japanese accomplishment in industrializing a whole society while holding living standards down and shutting it off from the cultural impact of the West has become difficult to emulate this side of the Iron Curtain. We still have a long way to go before One World becomes a political reality, but meanwhile the movies and the radio are seeing to it that Western—and especially American—consumption habits exert their pull in the remotest villages of Asia. And overshadowing all there is the East-West split, itself in part a consequence of the unequal distribution of the world’s goods among the world’s inhabitants.
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