WIDER Annual Lecture 9
The World is not Flat

Inequality and Injustice in our Global Economy

The Lecture addresses one of the core issues in development: how can low income countries achieve faster rates of economic growth? Reviewing the lessons to be drawn from recent history, particularly with regard to Latin America and Asia, Rodrik concludes that successful policies are invariably built on sensible general principles such as a desire to interact more closely with the global economy, to maintain fiscal discipline, and to establish a strong and supportive institutional environment. However, attempts to translate these general principles into a collection of orthodox liberal policies have a patchy record of success, at best. This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that the vast majority of significant growth accelerations over the past 50 years fail to reveal any clear link with economic liberalization. The alternative framework proposed by Rodrik involves a move away from a blanket prescription and towards a more nuanced strategy which focuses on the particular constraints that prevent a given country from growing faster. The consequent policy recommendations may be quite different for countries that appear superficially to share similar problems, or for the same country at different points of time. Rodrik makes a persuasive case for an alternative strategy which has profound implications for the construction of economic policy in developing count.The 9th WIDER Annual Lecture was given by Professor Nancy Birdsall in Helsinki on 26 October 2005, under the title ‘The World is not Flat: Inequality and Injustice in our Global Economy’.