Social Scientist. v 18, no. 204 (May 1990) p. 1.

Graphics file for this page

With attention focussed the world over on the possibilities for structural reform in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, there has been less discussion of the constraints to such reforms in the developing world emerging from domestic and international inequality. While internal structures have proved a constraint on the successful implementation of import-substituting strategies, the transition to more 'liberal', outward-oriented strategies is proving too costly from the point of view of the pace of development and the distributional implications of even the mearge rates of growth recorded. This issue focuses on some aspects of these difficulties.

In the lead article, Binod Khadria discusses a fall-out of international inequality, viz. the drain of skilled human resources from the developing to the developed world. This drain is ensured by the combination of constraints on the international transfer of technology, set for example by the Paris Convention, and on migration, ensured through immigration laws in the developed countries fine-tuned to selectively permit only such a flow. Given the relation between concerted efforts at indigenous technology generation and the creation of an environment in which locally trained scientific and technical manpower finds fulfillment, any effort to curb the former, as exemplified by the attack on India's Patents Act, only leads to the flow of skilled human resources to locations more suited to their activity, constraining the process of generation of an indigenous technological capability even further. That is the 'brain-drain* not merely aggravates international inequality but is itself accelerated by moves like the recently emphasised trade related intellectual property measures (TRIPs), which constrain the free diffusion of knowledge, information and technology.

Even in instances where solidarity within a section of the Third World permits an international redistribution of income in its favour— a tendency epitomised by the oil price hikes of the 1970s—internal structures and international inequalities soon lead to the dissipation of this advantage, as well as distorted development. The paper by Frans Schuurman and Raouf Salib on labour migration to the Middle East in the aftermath of the oil price hike and that by Morteza Assadi on the development of the Iranian economy, focus on these aspects. Schuurman and Salib survey available studies on the extent of migration, the

Back to Social Scientist | Back to the DSAL Page

This page was last generated on Wednesday 12 July 2017 at 13:02 by
The URL of this page is: