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The spectre of poverty, disease and ignorance still haunts much of the developing world today. But not everywhere. Some societies, such as Botswana, Mauritius, Malaysia and Korea, are successfully transforming the material life of the majority of their citizens, though not always without costs in terms of human rights. Others, such as Peru, Zaire, India and the Philippines, appear incapable of doing so. In this widely comparative study, Adrian Leftwich examines why this has happened. Focusing on the politics and states of a wide range of developing societies, Leftwich generates a model of the a developmental statea as a particular sub--type of state in the modern world, and argues the case for the primacy of politics in development. He challenges a number of contemporary orthodoxies in western overseas development policy, especially the current insistence that democracy is a necessary condition for development. States of Development will be essential reading for students and scholars in development studies and politics.