“Weird” is the adjective which occurs to me to describe the experience of reading Asian Drama, an immense “Inquiry into the Poverty of Nations,” in three volumes and 2,250 pages, by the veteran economist Gunnar Myrdal.
Almost everyone knows the sensation: “This has all happened to me before”; and it is weird. Here is a vast piece of re-learning by a very considerable man, who makes no secret of having been forced to overturn the assumptions which, along with nearly all contemporaries, he had cherished and propagated about “under-developed countries”, “aid” and “planning development” in the countries of South Asia.
As the Director of the fund which financed the study says in the foreword: “Professor Myrdal had not only to move against accepted premises and assumptions; what was more difficult, he had to move against those premises which he had himself done so much to establish and to make seem self-evident.”
In the author’s own words: “I am deeply conscious of the fact that I have myself shared many of the ways of thought I criticise in this book.”
IDS Bulletin 1.2