The growth and development analytical controversies in economic science: A reassessment for the post-Covid-19 era



Abstract. A repositioning of the theoretical instruments of development and growth in the context of economics and political economy that we have at our disposal to date seems necessary, especially after the structural transformation caused by the COVID-19 socio-economic and pandemic crisis. Specifically, the overcoming of the COVID-19 era of crisis seems to depend on how we will manage to re-perceive the theory of economic development and apply its proposals in new economic policies, in global terms. In this context, this article examines whether the conceptual and “therapeutic” foundations of development economics have today the necessary potential to cope with structural changes caused by the ongoing global socio-economic crisis. We assess the current debate in the literature of “economic development versus economic growth” and conclude that a new, comprehensive and evolutionary, orientation to understanding economic development seems necessary to respond to new global challenges for the post-COVID-19 era. We propose a multidisciplinary and evolutionary conceptual direction that suggests the multi-angle understanding of diverse historical configurations. We argue that all socio-economic mutations accelerated by the current pandemic crisis have systemic and evolutionary content and effects and cannot be reliably perceived as mere coincidences of “quantities” and growth “performances.” In this way, we can only disagree with any static and linear approach to the current crisis that directly or indirectly leads to reproducing the rigid enclosure of the analysis in partial specializations of economics. On the contrary, we counter-propose a theoretical response of evolutionary type to assess the contemporary theory of economic development and the political economy in the post-COVID-19 era as an interdisciplinary crossroads for all socio-economic sciences.

Keywords. International political economy, Economic science, Economic development, Economic growth, Economic development versus economic growth, Social science, Socio-economic crisis, Post-COVID-19 era, Evolutionary economics.

JEL. O10, O40, B52.


International political economy; Economic science; Economic development; Economic growth; Economic development versus economic growth; Social science; Socio-economic crisis; Post-COVID-19 era; Evolutionary economics.

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