Social Scientist. v 8, no. 96 (July 1980) p. 76.


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BOOK REVIEW

Reflections on Development

C. H. HANUMANTHA RAG AND P. G. Josm (cds), REFLECTIONS ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL CHANGE :

ESSAYS IN HONOUR OF PROF V K R V RAO. Allied Publishers, New Delhi, 1979, pp XIV -4" 486, Rs 100

THIS Festschrift for V K R V Rao contains 24 essays covering wide range of topics and it is such a motley collection of articles that it is difficult to do justice, in a short review like this, to the entire collection.

The opening piece by A K Das Gupta. which is themati-cally related to Rao's essay, "The Nature and Purpose of Economic Activity", vacillates between Lord Robbins' ncoclassic definition of economics and an alternative one which is never clearly spelt out. In the end, he seems to be awkwardly clinging to the mainstream definition. Though he criticizes the latter at a place or two his criticism is largely misplaced. He says in the end that the fac1 of ^scarce means which have alternative uses59 cannot be denied. Das Gupta seems to miss the essential flaw (which is much more than a "methodological" error) of neoclassical economics: its "ahistorical and unhistorical core". For example, though the role played by relative scarcities and abundances (in mainstream terminology, excess demand and supply) cannot be denied, the important point is tliat not all societies in all historical periods respond to relative scarcities and abundances in the same way.

Jan Tinbergen, in his paper on "Some Remarks on Slow Growth", argues for a slower rate of growtli for rich countries as a means of reducing global and national inequalities and for "an easier solution of food scarcity in the regions suffering from malnutrition at present" (p 26); this is urgent not because of an imminent ecological threat, but for "social, cultural and political



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