Justin Yifu Lin, the first non-Western chief economist of the World Bank and architect of China’s economic reform, is someone we should listen to when he offers his ideas on economic growth. Lin’s previous positions in government and international organizations gave him opportunities to see the things that work and don’t work in growing economies of developing nations. Now that Dr Lin has stepped down from chief economist at the Bank, he is set on answering the most elusive of economic questions: How do developing economies grow?
In his book THE QUEST FOR PROSPERITY: How Developing Economies Can Take Off, Lin focuses on what developing nations can do to help themselves, without the need of international assistance or influence, drawing on a lifetime’s worth of research in international economics, from China to the World Bank. Illustrated with lessons from history, economic analysis, and practice, Lin examines how the countries that have succeeded in developing their own economies have actually done it. He shows that economic development is a process of continuous technological innovation, industrial upgrading, and structural change driven by how countries harness their land, labour, capital, and infrastructure.
By following this “new structural economics” framework, Lin shows how even the poorest nations can grow at eight percent or more continuously for several decades, significantly reduce poverty, and become middle- or even high-income countries in the span of one or two generations.