Ian Livingstone (Ed.). Development Economics and Policy: Readings. London: George Allen & Unwin. 1981. x + 353 pp.Hardback £ 17.50 and Paper• back £ 7.95.

Syed Nawab Haider Naqvi


The editor of a 'book of readings' has generally his back to
the wall before the onslaught of prospective critics clamouring "why one
more". True, the marginal net private benefit to the editor from such
publications can always be shown to be positive, or at least strictly
non-negative, by reference to the notorious publish-or-perish syndrome.
However, the need for a convincing demonstration of the positively of
the expected marginal net social benefit from such books drags the
reluctant editor gladiator into the arena. In many cases the spectacle
is a pathetic one: the editor endlessly and vainly differentiating his
goods from those of others even if that involves a comparison of the
'bads', indulging in omniscient subjectivism: "this is what / consider
to be the best collection" (never mind if it is the nth-best), or
patronizing those who have been forced by time, circumstance or public
apathy into anonymity: "such articles were not easily accessible." If
all fails, and the editor also happens to be teaching a course in
development economics, then even if the social profitability of such a
collection falls far short of its private profitability, the situation
can still be redeemed by the deus ex machina of the cause of pedagogy
needing the helping hand of yet another book of readings.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30541/v20i1pp.121-130


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