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makingit_20_pp38-41_policybrief.qxp_print 16/11/2015 15:21 Page 41

BOOK REVIEW

festival during the UN’s Sustainable Development Summit in New York in September 2015. Photo: UN/Mark Garten

Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning, speaking at a

‘silver bullet’ nor a set of ready-to-make recipes but an enlightening list of seven principles to inspire decisions and to assess results. Despite the numerous hurdles they present in the book and the desperate urgency of the challenges to be tackled, Altenburg and Lütkenhorst never lose hope that transformation and development are possible and that attempting them is nothing short of a moral imperative. The authors aptly choose to end the book with a quotation

from Joyce on mistakes and discovery. Reflecting on the content of the book but also on how complicated it must have been to pack so many years of research and work into little more than 200 pages, a quote from Seneca would have probably been equally fitting: “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” In the now growing body of literature on the topic, Industrial Policy in Developing Countries. Failing Markets, Weak States

deserves a special place as a disenchanted, at times uncompromising, but never pessimistic plea to return to the origins of development thinking, aiming as big as it gets but also admitting to and learning from the mistakes made in the past. The book hopefully puts the final nail in the coffin of the debate about “whether” industrial policies are needed in poor countries. There is no doubt, however, that a consensus on “how” to design and implement them effectively will be anything less than engaging.

MakingIt 41


Shared prosperity. Issue 20