How Economic Growth Begins: A Theory of Social Change

Posted: 17 Nov 2009

Date Written: 1963


Traditional agricultural societies have begun to rapidly progress technologically, which in turn impacts both economic growth and social change. In order for countries, including those with low incomes, to experience economic growth, two factors must exist: (1) extensive levels of creativity, including the identification of and implementation of problem-solving skills, and (2) viewpoints which promote creative approaches towards production technology. The characteristics of a traditional agricultural society are discussed, including the typical hierarchical, authoritarian social structure and the impact of family status upon an individual's perceived social status. Additionally, an individual's personality may also impact their role and status within a society, as well as their impact upon a society's economic growth. Utilizing a Freudian, psychoanalytic approach, personality development of the individual is analyzed at length by studying the function of parental influence, as well as environmental factors, upon child personality development. Several examples of social change among historically authoritarian societies are presented. As an explanation for social change within these traditional societies, the study theorizes that alienated, creative individuals often seek to break away from traditional social patterns after being marginalized by society for being different. As a result, they pursue projects which will utilize their creative talents, while also allotting them the power and retribution they seek against their elitist society. (AKP)

Keywords: Authoritarian, Social change, Social structures, Cultural values, Individual traits, Status, Social conditions and trends, Economic development, Low income groups, Agricultural economics, Creativity, Cultures, Technological change

Suggested Citation

Hagen, Everett E., How Economic Growth Begins: A Theory of Social Change (1963). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship, Available at SSRN:

Everett E. Hagen (Contact Author)

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