While the struggle to develop is no small matter, once countries successfully join the club of “developed” countries challenges do not disappear. Where developing countries struggle to build, organize, and marshal the resources and institutions necessary to develop, once countries have developed they are faced with new challenges of what to do with their newfound (or long standing) capacity to execute public policy. Should they continue on an endless spiral of economic growth? Are “post material” issues of equity which may have been swept under the rug of material development now national priorities? What about new frontiers and new challenges which seemed out of reach such as global standards, global systems, climate crises, or the final frontier? There are very real and important questions of what countries should do when they are heavily constrained by crime or accident of history and are striving to develop on an uneven playing field. But once they have broken through and developed, new questions begin to be asked. It is a tragedy when people starve because there simply isn’t enough to go around but is it not more puzzling when people starve despite their being more than enough to go around? This course focuses on the problems, crises, and choices which face those countries who have seemingly achieved what all countries desire: development and prosperity for their citizens. It adopts a comparative, cross-national perspective to analyze the variety of ways that different countries have attempted to address the common and specific challenges they face once they have, in a very real sense, developed the capacity to do almost anything they choose. Empirical examples will be drawn from throughout the world and throughout the history of developed countries after the industrial revolution. Particular emphasis will be placed on the East Asian, European, and American experiences.
Instructor: Konrad Posch