Jeffrey Williamson’s estimates of the periphery’s terms of trade in the long nineteenth century are misleading.
Jeffrey Williamson‘s (2011) book Trade and Poverty: When the Third World Fell Behind is one of the most interesting attempts to explain the ‘great divergence’ between rich and poor countries. It is a shame, then, that it is marred by his use of Mickey Mouse numbers.
Over 30 years ago Andre Gunder Frank summarised the ideas that are promulgated by today’s ‘neo-institutionalists’ in debates about the ‘great divergence’.
Andre Gunder Frank‘s Lumpenbourgeoisie, Lumpendevelopment was published in 1972, almost half a century ago. Reading it now, it is surprising how contemporary it seems. Most notably, in a few pages Frank appears to provide a review of the ‘neo-institutionalist’ literature that is so prominent today in debates about the ‘great divergence’ between rich and poor countries.
Argentina’s apparent decline during the twentieth century is more likely an illusion created by faulty GDP statistics.
Recently the Economist published a front-page feature on ‘The Tragedy of Argentina: A Century of Decline‘. By summarising the current scholarship on the ‘Argentine paradox’, the article demonstrates why the study of the country’s history remains so necessary.
D.C.M. Platt’s critique of historians’ use of ‘Mickey Mouse numbers’ remains as relevant as ever today.
I never met my grandsupervisor (the PhD supervisor of my PhD supervisor), but I have enjoyed reading his rants. One in particular made a major impression upon me.