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

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