Economies focused on exports have lifted millions out of poverty, but epochal changes in trade, supply chains and technology are making it a lot harder.

by Patricia Cohen
April 2, 2024

For more than half a century, the handbook for how developing countries can grow rich hasn’t changed much: Move subsistence farmers into manufacturing jobs, and then sell what they produce to the rest of the world. [...] But technology is advancing, supply chains are shifting, and political tensions are reshaping trade patterns. And with that, doubts are growing about whether industrialization can still deliver the miracle growth it once did. For developing countries, which contain 85 percent of the globe’s population — 6.8 billion people — the implications are profound.


Researchers at Yale University found that in India and several countries in sub-Saharan Africa, agricultural workers jumped into consumer service jobs and raised their productivity and incomes.

But there was a catch: the gains were “strikingly unequal” and disproportionately benefited the rich...

Read more on the New York Times website.