Economic Development of the Four Little Dragons: Lessons for LDCs and China Until recently economic development has been confined to either European countries, countries settled by Europeans or countries with a history of imperialism like Japan. This historical fact is the empirical basis of the neo-Marxist thesis of dependency and under-development which has influenced the development policies of many African and Latin American countries. The success of the Four Little Dragons refutes this thesis. They show a new road to economic development based on export-oriented growth and integration with the international capitalist economy. Colonial heritage or colonial status is not an obstacle to economic development. Capital accumulation through exploitation and extraction of surplus from backward countries by means of colonialism and imperialism is not essential to economic development. For LDCs there is a successful alternative to the socialist road of development. The development of the Four Little Dragons into newly industrialised countries (NICs) will have a major impact on the history of economic development of the developing world. Lessons for LDCs and China are far-reaching.
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