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Blog Past: A Tutorial on Development

January 24th, 2010 · 2 Comments

I have collected together four articles from a series I wrote in 2004. These are writings from Atanu Dey on what Development really means.  Here is an excerpt from the first in the series:

For India to develop, there is no way other than moving away from agriculture. By that I don’t mean that we give up agriculture or reduce our production. I only mean that instead of 66 percent of our labor force being in agriculture, we have to steadily reduce that to something like 10 or 20 percent at most in the medium term and to single digit percentages in the long term. When labor does make that transition, then the released labor has to be absorbed in manufacturing and services sectors. This is a natural progression, come to think of it.

Natural because first we need food. Then we need non-food stuff such as clothes and shelter and vehicles and roads and books and computers and shoes and ships and sealing wax etc. All that stuff has to be manufactured. Once we have food and manufactured stuff, we need services such as education and dentistry and dancing and musicals and movies and psychiatry and what nots. This entire edifice is built upon the agricultural sector because without it producing food, no manufacturing nor services would occur. Of course, if we got super good in manufacturing, we could export that and buy food. Or if we got super good in services (BPO or what have you), we could export that and buy food and manufactures. The trouble is that India has a very huge population. And therefore if we ever specialize (that is do only one thing), then we would be forced to produce in such great quantities to export the stuff that the world price of that (food, manufactures, services) will crash and we will not be able to survive.

The bottom line is this: A large economy has to be largely self-sufficient. It has to produce food, manufactures, and services domestically and it has to consume most of what it produces domestically as well. Only small economies can afford to specialize and survive through trade.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rahul // Jan 24, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    I read this a long time ago. Atanu Dey wrote it with Vinod Khosla

    http://www.kpcb.com/files/RISCNov.2003.doc

  • 2 Rajeev // Jan 24, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Nice article. sometime i wonder If we know the facts why we have not seen many people working toward innovating different technologies in this filed. how many companies/peoples do we have in India working to bring innovation/fresh ideas/practical use of existing technology to help farmers? More than micro financing i think food manufacturer (farmers) need support to use new ways/technologies to optimize production within their limited land. We can still put open market access to all farmers on hold for time being.lets focus on the source first. Once they are self efficient to produce good quality corps and well supported with required technologies, they will find a way to next step. I think education, knowledge, and expose to some existing technology will make them self sufficient.
    Note: Above are just my thoughts with minimum knowledge in this filed and I really respect all people working in this filed to fix the issues.

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