Rostow, Walt

Rostow, Walt

(1916-) US economic historian who has made influential contributions to the study of ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT and served in various advisory capacities with the Kennedy-Johnson administrations. His most famous work Stages of Economic Growth (1960) had the subtitle ‘a non-communist manifesto’. Rostow identified five 'stages of economic growth’: traditional society; preconditions for take-off; take-off; drive to maturity; and maturity. Levels of investment are regarded as decisive in launching societies on a growth trajectory. The study was intended to provide theoretical guidance on the solution of current problems of UNDERDEVELOPMENT applicable to all societies. The approach has been criticized by A.G. FRANK (1969), as being theoretically and empirically inadequate, and unlikely to provide an adequate recipe for development, because it ignores the history of imperialism and the dialectical interconnection of development with underdevelopment.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000