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Reading the economic history of Afghanistan

Tirthankar Roy

Economic History Working Papers from London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History

Abstract: Twentieth-century Afghanistan offers a lesson for the historian of comparative economic development. Two conditions help to understand Afghan history better, resource poverty and the absence of European colonial rule. In a resource-poor region, the possibility of rapid economic change depends to a great extent on the capability and stability of the states; at the same time, attempts to create strong centres of power with a weak tax base can generate debilitating conflicts. European colonialists in some cases managed to overcome the dilemma. In the absence of colonialism, old elites and old rivalries survived and intensified the conflict. These two features appeared in the histories of many of the world’s poor regions. They shaped the process of economic and political change in Afghanistan with great force.

JEL-codes: N45 N55 O10 O53 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 30 pages
Date: 2020-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cwa, nep-his and nep-isf
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