chapter  V
13 Pages

Economic and technological setting

BySurendra J. Patel

This study covers the process of technological transformation of some 130 countries and territories of the South from 1950 onwards. That was only 40 years ago. Many of those alive then are still living. There is no need therefore to recapitulate in detail the economic and technological setting of that period. Moreover, the vast literature on development covering the issue as a whole or by countries or by sectors has described the situation in ample detail. But in order to appreciate the place of the third world in the world economy in the 1950s, the main landmarks of its technological setting may be highlighted here, albeit in a highly simplified and severely summarized sketch. Such a frame of reference would also help bring out more sharply what the initial conditions were, how the image has altered since then, how the uneven pace and spread of technological transformation has raised productivity and altered the structures of the economies of the South; and how different countries have shared in this process.