For many lay people, economic development - by which we mean the analysis of the economic progress of nations - is what economics as a whole is designed to address. Indeed, what but to find the "nature and causes" of economic development was Adam Smith's purpose? For modern economists, however, the status of economic development is somewhat more uncomfortable: it has always been the maverick field, lurking somewhere in the background but not really considered "real economics" but rather an amalgam of sociology, anthropology, history, politics and, all-too- often, ideology.
Nonetheless, few of the greatest economists actually ignored it outright. As already noted, Adam Smith and indeed, perhaps the entire Classical School was concerned with what might be termed "economic development". Schumpeter's first famous book was entitled a Theory of Economic Development (1911). The German Historical School - and its English and American counterparts - coul