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The new growth theories: a cultural and social addendum

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To overcome the errors of the exogenous growth theories of the past, the new growth theories, currently in vogue, attempt to incorporate technological change as endogenous to the growth process. While making a commendable effort to see into that black box of technological change, these so-called new growth theories are also subject to question and critique on a variety of grounds. One of these is that the new growth theories are not really that new. Another area of concern relates to their empirical relevancy. This is especially evident in assessing the practical use of the new growth theories in terms of problem identification and policy resolution. Other problem areas relate to issues of conceptual clarity and underlying assumptions. By assuming the process of economic growth to be synonymous with that of economic development the result is to avoid the prerequisite structural transformation inherent in the dynamics of culture evolution. Culture evolution in turn is predicated upon technological advance conceptualized as both material and social technology. It is argued in this paper that an explanation as to why technology is endogenous to the processes of growth and economic development is best served vis-à-vis an analysis of the dynamics of culture evolution.
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Keywords: Culture; Economic Growth; Economic Theory; Society; Technology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-05-23

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