Philippine Standard time

Why We Missed the Industrialization Wagon: Can We Still Catch It?

IN A PREVIOUS ARTICLE (, we argued that manufacturing and exports are the “magic bullet” that developing countries like the Philippines need. We are not unveiling here anything new: nihil novum sub sole. This is how countries have managed to overcome the middle-income trap, then become upper-middle- then high-income countries.

But if the way forward is clear, why is it so difficult to get it right? Here comes to our mind the start of Leo Tolstoy’s famous novel, Anna Karenina: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Whereas successful industrialization stories are very similar in their core elements, every developing country has its own set of historical and current obstacles for development.


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