When I was doing doctoral studies in Economics in early 1980s, my Economic Development course professor, Edwin Reuben, advised the class to visit countries whose model of development could be emulated or recommended for poor developing countries. (Prof Reuben was the USA intelligence officer for the navy that had encircled and enforcing the blockade of Japan during WWII. He said he recommended against dropping the nuclear bombs on Japan because his intelligence concluded that Japan would only resist the blockade for more three more days. Japan is the only country to experience nuclear bombing and it also happens to be a non-white country).
The objective behind Dr Reuben’s advice to graduate students was to encourage visits to rapidly developing countries to learn how they developed while also gaining practical experience and acquiring expertise on development that could be applied elsewhere. Among the development models studied in class were Japan, the Southeast Asian tigers, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, and others. China and Dubai were not among those studied at the time; in fact, both were looking at the model of other countries for their own development. Prof Reuben’s advise took me (as a student visitor) to all of those countries and more from 1985 onwards to study and learn about their approaches to or models of development. Guyana should encourage local economics students to study successful development models of countries, visit them for practical experience, and return with advise on model for Guyana. I was fortunate to receive study grants or subsidies while an overseas student. Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, etc. sent their students to study development of the western countries and return to their own countries and applied what they learn. China and UAE would send their students abroad to study abroad emulating the models of the Southeast Asian miracle economies.
Each country had its own features and resources, or lack thereof, and experience and therefore its own development model. One model does not fit all. Guyana or Guyanese students could learn and apply to the homeland aspects of development of each country studied.
Each country I studied and visited was a learning experience. They were amazing economies. Each had its own storyline of how it became a success. Singapore, for example, had no resources, not even food. Guyana was ahead of it around 1960. Yet in a few years, it overtook Guyana in development; it had become a first world economy by 2000. It’s per capita income is about ten times that of Guyana. I visited some of the countries multiple times, years apart, to monitor their economic progress. It is amazing how these relatively poor countries (during 1970s) marshaled their limited financial resources to become role models for others during the 1980s. They learned from and were supported by the West to experience rapid growth. Countries that were anti-Western in Latin America and Caribbean paid a price. The successful economies in Asia were pro-western.
Dubai and China, much talked about today, were no where considered as economic models for other countries up to the new millennium. In fact, they were largely underdeveloped during the 1980s (when I visited China in 1985) and emulated the model of Southeast Asian countries to become rapidly developing economies today. China copied much from Singapore — the LKY model. Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico experienced rapid growth during some years in the 70s and 80s but with heavy burdensome debt that would lead to economic chaos. Dubai is now being talked about as a development model for poor countries. It should be studied as is China and the Southeast Asian miracle economies. Government should give consideration in supporting students to study economic models that can be emulated for our development.