Dev and Under dev Review Essay notes
Remember what I've mentioned in class: do your best to build an argument that integrates an aspect of
the course material. For example, you could focus on a concept (neoliberalism), or on a theory
(dependency) or on an historical trend or event and make an argument about how that concept, theory,
trend or event relates to the book. Don't try to cover all the material from the course - just focus on an
aspect that will help you to make a strong argument
Dependency Theory: An Introduction
Vincent Ferraro, Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA
[Dependency is]...an historical condition which shapes a certain structure of the world
economy such that it favors some countries to the detriment of others and limits the
development possibilities of the subordinate economics...a situation in which the economy of
a certain group of countries is conditioned by the development and expansion of another
economy, to which their own is subjected.
three common features to these definitions which most dependency theorists share:
1. dependency characterizes the international system as comprised of two sets of states,
variously described as dominant/dependent, center/periphery or metropolitan/satellite
2. Second, both definitions have in common the assumption that external forces are of singular
importance to the economic activities within the dependent states. These external forces
include multinational corporations, international commodity markets, foreign assistance,
communications, and any other means by which the advanced industrialized countries can
represent their economic interests abroad.
3. Third, the definitions of dependency all indicate that the relations between dominant and
dependent states are dynamic because the interactions between the two sets of states tend
to not only reinforce but also intensify the unequal patterns. Moreover, dependency is a very
deep-seated historical process, rooted in the internationalization of capitalism Andre Gunder Frank, one of the earliest dependency theorists, is quite clear on this
...historical research demonstrates that contemporary underdevelopment is in large part
the historical product of past and continuing eonomic and other relations between the
satellite underdeveloped and the now developed metropolitan countries. Furthermore,
these relations are an essential part of the capitalist system on a world scale as a whole.
According to this view, the capitalist system has enforced a rigid international division of
labor which is responsible for the underdevelopment of many areas of the world. The
dependent states supply cheap minerals, agricultural commodities, and cheap labor, and
also serve as the repositories of surplus capital, obsolescent technologies, and
These functions orient the economies of the dependent states toward the outside: money,
goods, and services do flow into dependent states, but the allocation of these resources are
determined by the economic interests of the dominant states, and not by the economic
interests of the dependent state.
division of labor is ultimately the explanation for poverty and there is little question but that
capitalism regards the division of labor as a necessary condition for the efficient allocation
of resources. The most explicit manifestation of this characteristic is in the doctrine of
dependency models rest upon the assumption that economic and political power are heavily
concentrated and centralized in the industrialized countries
governments will take whatever steps are necessary to protect private economic interests,
such as those held by multinational corporations.
dependency theory explains underdevelopment
dependency theorists, underdevelopment is a wholly negative condition which offers no
possibility of sustained and autonomous economic activity in a dependent state.
Dependency theory suggests that alternative uses of resources are preferable to the
resource usage patterns imposed by dominant states. For example, one of the dominant
state practices most often criticized by dependency theorists is export agriculture. The
criticism is that many poor economies experience rather high rates of malnutrition even
though they produce great amounts of food for export.
Many dependency theorists would argue that those agricultural lands should be used for
domestic food production in order to reduce the rates of malnutrition.
dependency theorists rely upon a belief that there exists a clear "national" economic
interest which can and should be articulated for each country
dependency perspective is that its proponents believe that this national interest can only be
satisfied by addressing the needs of the poor within a society, rather than through the
satisfaction of corporate or governmental needs.
Dependency theorists argue that these elites maintain a dependent relationship because
their own private interests coincide with the interests of the dominant states. Dependency theorists argue that these elites maintain a dependent relationship because
their own private interests coincide with the interests of the dominant states.
dependency relationship is a "voluntary" relationship in the sense that these elites are
typically trained in the dominant states and share similar values and culture with the elites
in dominant states.
elites in a dependent state are consciously betraying the interests of their poor; the elites
sincerely believe that the key to economic development lies in following the prescriptions of
liberal economic doctrine.
( 16 sept/ 2010):
Prof: Dr. Adam Sneyd
Lecture 2: Explaining Underdevelopment: Dependency
dependency theory is a product of the 3 world
growth of rich countries has impoverished 3 world countries ( lecture 2: explaining
under development: Dependency)
dependency thinkers argue that capitalism began to develop into a world system
centuries ago by tying people every where together and changing social structures
dependency theory is related to Marxism
the forces of international capitalism has continued to block the progress of the 3
from a dependency perspective; the expansion of the industrial world shaped the
structure of the 3 world
African societies have been exploited by capitalism for centuries
The Atlantic triangular trade demonstrate how under dev was actively created by
Transnational firm and investors still dominate host countries
Dependency thinkers continue to see any level of industrialization in the third world as
weak and dependent.
Dependency thinkers recognize that there is a growing elite capitalist class in the
periphery, but do not believe that third world elites are autonomous from rich world
banks, firms, and govts
They are considered to be dependent upon the capitalist core countries