Economic history is a vast field with no explicit definitions. D.C Coleman defined it as a study of past economic angles of societies in history and how they used their resources such as capital, workforce and land (Szirmai, 11). The study of economic history is vital given the need to learn from past mistakes. Flawed decisions made in the past will be studied and used to better inform decisions made in the contemporary society. Different stakeholders have implemented various programs that enable the study of economic history. One such program was the PBS “Commanding Heights”, which expounded on issues of globalization and how the world has been advancing from the 90’s to the 2000’s. The study of economic history has the capacity to provide a broad perspective towards other segments of the economy (Allen, 17). In appreciation of the dynamic nature of economics as a field of study, its history ought to be given high regard given its potency in informing and guiding future economic decisions.
Developing countries have diverse and broad economic histories. Forty years ago, the economic potential of countries such as India and South Korea, were significantly lower than their current position. India had an income per capita of $150 in 1980 while South Korea's income per capita was $350. The population of these two nations was solely dependent on farming, which formed a major part of the national income. By the 1990’s, the two countries had grown tremendously. South Korea had per capita income had grown to a whooping $2900 growing steadily at a rate of 6 percent per annum (Szirmai, 40).
The introduction of contemporary economic policies, best exemplified by the free-market economics, in most of the developing countries encountered significant hurdles. The rejection by some countries such India, all of Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America led to the deterioration and stagnation of their respective economies. However, countries that adopted the policies have experienced steady growth in their economies, with Far East Asia countries such as Malaysia being the biggest beneficiaries (Nafziger, 25).
Issues such the rigidity of some governments to adopt the dynamic changes in the world has culminated in a poor economic growth rate for some developing countries (Nafziger, 32). The corruption rate in the developing world is so high that wealth distribution only favors a select group of people. Issues such as high-interest rates in the banking institutions and low debt servicing are among the main setbacks for the economic growth of developing countries (Nafziger, 35).
One of the global goals that have been adopted thus far is poverty eradication. The realization of this goal is largely dependent on the study of economic history of the developing world. Such a measure will be coupled with determining the reasons for past economic failures. The intent is to better inform economic decisions thus reducing the potential for repetition of past mistakes. It has to be understood that the acquisition of vast knowledge about economic history, especially in the developing world, will aid in addressing world economic issues.
My goals as a potential expert in economic history will entail a prediction of the economic future. Such a capability will be realized using past data and experiences gathered for the betterment of the world at large. In addition to this, I will also endeavor to analyze economic situations and downfalls and relate them to past decisions made by the economic powerhouses. Economic history is of great significance, and its comprehension is, therefore, warranted to solve problems that keep on recurring. Economic cycles and chains that keep on occurring will, therefore, be broken with an in-depth understanding and study of economic history as the main subject.
Allen, Robert C. Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction. London: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Nafziger, E. Wayne. Economic Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Szirmai, Adam. The Dynamics of Socio-Economic Development: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.