This module will explore economic development as a social process. Development occurs within a political framework. The global economy and international politics impact development as well.
India is the third largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power parity. It dominates a region which includes Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives. Bangladesh has witnessed rapid economic growth and Sri Lanka has achieved high levels of human development. Many South Asian countries have embraced trade and increased the role of private companies and entrepreneurship.
Rapid growth has occurred in a region home to the largest number of absolutely poor people. Poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and gender inequality characterize this region. Social experiments such as micro-credit and employment guarantees have been initiated to address poverty and distress in the region. Non-governmental organizations play an important role in the development process.
This module has three primary goals. First, it highlights the social and political basis of economic development in South Asia by drawing attention to industrial and agricultural transformation in the region. It explores the roots of growth and poverty alleviation in societies with powerful actors opposed to development. Second, it debates the extent to which the state can leave development to private non-state actors. Students will appreciate that development is a political process which has a social and economic basis. Finally, the module is about comparing the South Asian economies.