By Volker Bornschier

In this crucial booklet, pre-eminent financial sociologist Volker Bornschier analyzes development and improvement within the outdated and New Worlds - the so-called 'developed' international locations. He exhibits how sociological and political elements have an immense effect on financial swap in these countries.

The book is a major contribution to the burgeoning literature on social capital, belief and democracy and should be of curiosity to these within the fields of economics, sociology, politics and improvement studies.

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The product per population is not a measure of economic efficiency or, more precisely, of labour productivity, but a measure of average wealth, which is something quite different. The easiest way to understand that difference is to imagine that the same product per population can either be produced by a smaller proportion of highly productive workers or by a larger proportion of less productive workers. Given the huge demographic differences in comparing societies, one should therefore rely on growth of total income and control for the growth of labour input.

The growth period should be long enough to ensure that differences are meaningful and not affected by differences in links to the world business cycle. About fifteen to twenty years are sufficient in order to obtain such typical growth rates. The countries to be compared may differ in theoretically relevant social characteristics and processes. Although such traits of nations may change, they typically change very slowly and can be taken as fairly stable for comparative purposes. Take, for example, education: increasing levels of schooling will affect the overall proliferation of education in a society only gradually.

I recently published figures for the period between 1980 and 1997 on the dispersion in average income per capita levels – expressed in purchasing power parities – for 103 countries which actually indicate an increasing dispersion. 8 The enigma of economic growth As a sociologist, one is immediately inclined to ask about the functions of economic growth for modern society. 4 Dispersion of average income levels (at purchasing-power parities) from 1980–97. The dispersion measure is the mean logartithmic deviation (source: Bornschier 2002: 281 or Bornschier 2002b: 125).

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