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Dependent Development

Political Science
Course Code
Jeffrey Kopstein

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Feb 7 – Dependent Development
What is development?
-Human development
-Equitable development
oInterested in the redistributive aspects of development
oLife chances? (e.g. infant mortality)
oHaving the skills/education/experience in order to continually develop
-Sustainable development
oSustaining over the long-term (socioeconomic development); environmental concerns
-Political development
oDemocratic reform is seen to be political development (in Western perspective)
-Focus on aggregate economic growth
-How to explain?
A Theoretical Conversation: (I) the cosmopolitical view
-Under a system of perfectly free commerce, each country naturally devotes its capital and labour
to such employments as are most beneficial to each
oIndividual advantage (i.e. supply and demand); invisible hand
oLeads to the creation of specialization/efficiency
oLead to global productivity and peace
oPositive sum view (everyone will benefit)
(II) The mercantilist view
-Argues that free trade benefits the hegemon, not everyone
-Negative sum (some nations will benefit in the expense of others); disproportionately benefits the
-Requires the visible hand of government to create comparative advantage in order to compete with
the hegemon
oEfforts by governments to develop their own countries (i.e. tariffs, manipulation of
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(III) The Leninist view
-Capitalism has its own contradictions that would bring itself to an end
-The highest order of capitalism is not its own demise, but rather is monopoly capitalism (i.e. huge
firms accrue so much capital over time that it cannot invest in itself anymore; must find
companies in other countries)
-Emphasis on finance capital; money needs to leave the system in order to enter other systems
World Systems Theory
- Inspired by Marxist/Leninist tradition
- Immanuel Wallerstein
-Three main points:
oThe world system is inherently exploitative
i.e. Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) are extremely exploitative and mobile
(scour the world for the cheapest labour and most lax environmental regulations)
oIt is a global system, it is the nature of the system itself that matters
oStructural theory, it is the way in which the world is structured; structure dictates how the
world works
-Really takes serious the notion of global capitalism; not only included the hegemons but also all
the other countries
-Created in a time when the global system privileged liberalism and free trade
-Monoponistic purchases (the north): i.e. Wal-mart purchases so many products from China that it
can actually set its own purchasing prices and China must obey (this is not supply and demand);
the power of the purchaser
-Colonial legacy
Structure” of Global Capitalism
-Dominant “core” versus dependent periphery”
-Structural dependency
oA system whereby the periphery countries are locked into a system which exploits them
oSpecialization of products leads to dependence of single exports; there is no hope for
periphery countries
The implications of global capitalism
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