chapter
Introduction
Pages 12

Radical policy change. In the past developing countries undertook efforts to diminish their dependence on imponderables of the world market by building up a more or less complete national industrial base and protecting it with a variety of tariff and nontariff import barriers. The theoretical foundation and justification of these attempts was the concept of import-substituting industrialization (ISI) developed at the beginning of the 1950s. In many countries ISI policies gave rise for a protracted period to high rates of economic growth and the development of a large-scale industrial base. But they also led to distortions and immanent problems, and these, based as they were on one-sidedly inward-looking policies, ultimately proved ISI to be a dead-end street. Following attempts in the 1960s (which for the most part failed) to achieve a more pronounced outward orientation, and some isolated radical reorientations in the 1970s, most inwardlooking countries, at the latest since the eruption of the debt crisis, came under strong pressure to alter their policies radically. Core elements of structural adjustment programs imposed on these countries from outside, or developed by them on their own initiative, included reduction of the level of state intervention, strengthening of market forces, and a radical shift in foreign trade policy.