The economic aftermath of World War II in Europe is normally studied through the lens of reconstruction. However, many contemporaries saw “backwardness” as the main social and economic issue in several European regions. For these scholars, practitioners and policy-makers, reconstructing those economies not only would not have solved their structural problems; it might have even exacerbated their chronic underdevelopment and increased the gap with the more advanced regions. The history of postwar Europe is thus also the story of the attempts to overcome the structural backwardness of depressed regions through a conscious development effort, designed to bring radical changes to their economic and social structure in the long run.
While the history of postwar development ideas and institutions is mostly told as an extra-European history, this workshop will study the European roots of postwar development policies, and how they influenced development policies in the rest of the world. Far from remaining confined within European borders, this experience was in fact considered by the international development community as an incubator of lessons and ideas to be applied in underdeveloped areas worldwide.
For a report on the conference papers, visit the Toynbee Prize Foundation website.
Event is free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served.