There was a wide ranging debate in the 1950s and 1960s in the developing countries about the role of the state in their economy when these countries attained independence, with developing their economies and eradicating poverty and backwardness being seen as their key priority. In the post-World War II peri-od, the all-pervasive ‘laissez-faire’ model of development was rejected, because during the pre-war period such policies had failed to resolve the economic crisis. Therefore, Keynesian interventionist economic policies were adopted in most of those countries. This is a theoretical paper, which is based on a review of published papers in the field of economic policies, especially about the debate on the role of the state and market. In this study, a wide range of data sources are presented, which in-cludes statistics generated by a number of organisations that are not agencies of a particular government. This is useful since data are compiled by a wide range of organisation such as IMF, World Bank and WTO. Secondary data would help our study to answer the research questions. There seems to be greater potential for examining statistical data produced by various organisations that are relatively independent of the national government. The study finds that more than two decades of pursuing neoliberal policies has reduced the progressive aspects of the state sector. The on-going crisis in terms of high unemployment, poverty and inequality provides an opportunity to critically reflect on past performance and on the desirability of reviving the role of the state sector in a way that will contribute to human development.