W. Arthur Lewis, who is considered as one of the pioneers of development economics is globally recognized for his iconic contribution to economic theory (i.e. Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labour, 1954). Lewis can be also described as an economic historian and long-wave theorist whose work analysed turning-points in global development. In particular, his early work entitled “Labour in the West Indies," published by the Fabian Society in 1939, chronicled the impact of the Great Depression on the Caribbean. The context is viewed to have had a formative influence on the young scholar.
The Festival and the follow-up publication aim to draw on the main insights from W.A. Lewis’ 1979 Nobel Prize lecture, the “Slowing Down of the Engine of Growth” which presaged the global economic crisis of 2007/8. We would also draw on what can be described as Lewis’ magnum opus, (Growth and Fluctuations, 1870-1913. Allen & Unwin, London, 1978) that provides a rich historical analysis of core-periphery economic and trade relations during a period of great economic, technological, political and social change.
In summary, we are of the view that the Post-Pandemic context provides a useful framework to apply Lewis’ theory of historical change and transformation from a global and sustainable development perspective.