Abstract

Alan S. Milward was an economic historian who developed an implicit theory of historical change. His interpretation which was neither liberal nor Marxist posited that social, political, and economic change, for it to be sustainable, had to be a gradual process rather than one resulting from a sudden, cataclysmic revolutionary event occurring in one sector of the economy or society. Benign change depended much less on natural resource endowment or technological developments than on the ability of state institutions to respond to changing political demands from within each society. State bureaucracies were fundamental to formulating those political demands and advising politicians of ways to meet them. Since each society was different there was no single model of development to be adopted or which could be imposed successfully by one nation-state on others, either through force or through foreign aid programs. Nor could development be promoted simply by copying the model of a more successful economy. Each nation-state had to find its own response to the political demands arising from within its society. Integration occurred when a number of nation- states shared similar political objectives which they could not meet individually but could meet collectively. It was not simply the result of their increasing interdependence. It was how and whether nation-states responded to these domestic demands which determined the nature of historical change.