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Multi-Layered Process of Development

Nasir Tyabji

By Atul Kohli
Cambridge University Press,Cambridge, 2005, pp. xii 466, Rs. 425.00


This book is to be welcomed for a number of reasons. Firstly, it brings politics back into the discussion of development issues; secondly it examines industrialization as a process that transforms society (rather than viewing it as merely a numerical growth in industrial output); thirdly, by analysing the experiences of Nigeria, India, Brazil and South Korea it addresses the problems of countries with undistinguished records, in addition to that of an East Asian Tiger. Finally, it moves away from the tiresome (if not misleading) approach of treating the growth of the information technology industry in India as an indication of the coming fulfillment of the industrialization process itself. Kohli also differentiates himself from neoliberal analysts of industrialization by bringing the historical experiences of colonialism into his discussion of the formation of the state in each of the countries he examines. However, his dissociation from neoliberal analysis seems to be based on his disciplinary identity as a political scientist, rather than any profound philosophical disagreement with neo liberal analysis. In his discussion of post 1991 developments in India, for instance, he relies entirely on the ideologically grounded accounts of neoliberal economists.   The book consists of introductory and concluding chapters, introducing the methodological approach adopted and the general, if not theoretical, implications of the analysis of the empirical material in the country case studies. These two chapters frame the main body of the work, two chapters each on the four countries considered. One of these chapters deals with the colonial period (or the pre-World War Two era in the case of Brazil), and the other with post-independence developments. Particularly interesting, precisely because it is generally ignored, is the account of the impact of Japanese colonialism on Korea. Unlike the well known attitude of the British to Indian development and their less well known to us (and considerably more criminal, if this is possible) record in Nigeria, the Japanese had a conception of an (atrocity and contempt ridden) objective of developing both the agrarian and the industrial sectors of the Korean economy. For this, they built on the pre-colonial tradition of state developed educational initiatives to create a state structure that led to considerable change in Korean society and the framework for an industrial economy.   It is to Kohli’s credit that the record of the ferocity of the authoritarian measures required to bring about the dramatic changes in Korean society, both in the ...

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