Courtesy Reuters

In the long run it may yet transpire that the differences between stages of economic development as between various nations and regions of the world are a more important determinant of history than differences in ideology or systems of government. Religious wars are contested with fervor at the time; so are wars to make the world safe for democracy. But sooner or later, the economic historian presents an alternative analysis which seems to put the hysteria of yesteryear in a more realistic frame.

And so today, press, pulpit and politician would have us believe that a new ideological focus is at the heart of the uncertainties, tensions and conflicts of the second half of the twentieth century. Once again, I suggest that tomorrow's historians will point out that behind the hysteria lay economics and that the real battleground was in that largely tropical territory which was first the object of

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.

Subscribe