This is a classic IEA text, first Published in 1983, but revised and expanded in 1997. Its critique of that type of 'development economics' highly influential in the early 1980s, which the author branded the 'dirigiste dogma', proved extremely controversial in the first few years of the book's life. Professor Lal concluded that the demise of the dogma would be beneficial to the health of 'both economics and the economies of developing countries'. The history of the last twenty years has demonstrated the force of the Lal critique. The dogma in its old form has gone, as Professor Lal shows in a postscript that brings the original text up to date both in terms of statistics and in terms of the history of ideas. Nevertheless, as he warns, dirigiste tendencies have not disappeared, but are emerging in new guises.