By W. Arthur Lewis
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Mexico has achieved the agricultural breakthrough, and is in stage four. Farm Policy A breakthrough in agriculture is especially crucial and especially difficult. It is especially crucial because the slow growth of agricultural output is usually the chief brake on the rest of the economy, and especially difficult because it is necessary to influence the decisions of hundreds of thousands or millions of uneducated peasants. Small farmers are very responsive to price changes; the problem lies not here but in their slow response to new technology.
Rising costs hold down exports and also make it difficult for the import substituting industries to compete with imports. Shortage of foreign exchange then leads to licensing of imports, which may in turn restrict investment. 40 DEVELOPMENT PLANNING Keeping domestic costs low does not raise for most underdeveloped countries the terms of trade complication which it raises for some industrial countries. If a country has some monopoly power in markets where it buys or sells, an increase in its prices relatively to those of its customers will not necessarily diminish its net profit from trading, since what it loses in volume it may more than make up in improved terms of trade.
This in turn raises wages, reducing the profitability of industrial production, even perhaps to the point of bringing industrial growth to a standstill. In an open economy the required food and raw materials can be imported, without prices rising; but they must then be paid for by exporting industrial products. Industrialization thus demands either a balanced growth of industry and agriculture, or increased exports, or some combination of both. Industrialization for import substitution is viable until the economy is substituting for all the manufactures it can produce economically.