ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Wider Outlook Needed.

Editorial from Volume X, No 41, October 11, 1958.

The Bank-Fund meetings this year were unique in two ways. This was the first time that these meetings were being held on Asian soil, and never before so many business men, bankers and Industrialists – the bulk of them from Western Europe and America – had attended these meetings. The slant was very definitely on the development of underdeveloped areas in the world. This was the keynote of the address by the President of the World Bank, Mr Eugene Black. Not the discovery of the atom bomb, but “the great transformation going on in the underdeveloped world today”, was, in Mr Black’s view “the most important fact of the 20th Century”. And equally unmistakable was the slant on private enterprise as the instrument through which this transformation was to be and could be brought about. The capital needed for development would not flow out in adequate quantities unless private investors could be induced to lend; and if these investors had to be tapped, one could understand why the World Bank, as the medium for channelling this capital, should be concerned about the sources from which such capital had to be drawn and the susceptibilities of the private investor. In fact, one of the purposes of the Bank, as laid down in its Articles, is “to promote private foreign investment by means of guarantees or participations in loans and other investments”...

In his address of welcome, Pandit Nehru invited the delegates to avail of this opportunity “to have a glimpse into our minds in our own environment”. Asia, he said, was in an explosive state, because the changes of the last few years had “unleashed a giant”; and “naturally it does not propose to behave as when it was in leash, either in the political domain or in the economic domain.” Since the development of underdeveloped countries was a world problem and had been recognised as such, the perspective of the cold war was not the right perspective on this all-important problem of development. In fact, such a perspective tended to distort the picture and led inevitably to much friction and waste of resources. There was more than a hint in Pandit Nehru’s deeply moving address that the great task of developing underdeveloped countries had to be undertaken primarily by these countries themselves.

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