Alexander Gerschenkron, Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective (1962), Chapter 1

Summary: Looking at economic backwardness in history to see what can be learned that is relevant for today.  Main take home point is that differences in local arrangements (state structure, capital distribution, etc.) lead themselves to the easier development of some institutional instruments over others.  Specific contexts lead to specific instruments.  Other than that, there’s a lot on Soviet Russia if you’re interested.

== Notes ==

 

=== The Elements of Backwardness ===

* Industrialization processes in backwards countries have shown considerable differences from more advanced countries, with regard to speed, but also with regard to the productive and organizational structures of industry

** These differences were a result of the application of unique institutional instruments

** Ideological climate also differed

** Also, the extent to which these attributes of backwardness occurred in individual instances appears to have varied directly with the degree of backwardness and the natural industrial potentialities of the countries concerned.

* Backwards countries shared peculiar basic factors which made for higher speed of growth and different productive structure of industries

* Some of these factors and their mode of operation on various levels of backwardness are discussed below

 

=== The Banks ===

* Industrialization of England proceeded without utilization of banking for long-term investment. This wasn’t possible in backward countries, where capital was scarce and diffuse – this helped to give rise to the divergent development of banking in backwards countries vis-a-vis England

 

=== The State ===

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=== The Gradations of Backwardness ===

* After the economic backwardness of Russia had been reduced by state-sponsored industrialization processes, use of a different instrument of industrialization, suitable to the new ‘stage of backwardness,’ became applicable.

 

=== Ideologies of Delayed Industrializations ===

* Important differences with regard to the character of industrial developments and its institutional vehicles were related to conditions and degrees of backwardness.

 

=== Conclusions ===

* Observations that may be helpful for present-day problems:

** There is a strong sense of the significance of the native elements in the industrialization of backward countries

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