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Domestic Power Structures and Development
I. Course Intro.
II. State Power
III. Development “Traps”
I. Course Introduction
[see syllabus under “Course Information” on web page]
II. State Power
A major determinant of development strategies and outcomes is the character of the state,
and the domestic power structures and political coalitions underpinning it.
Roots of Despotic Power:
-State borders and institutions were imposed by colonial rules
-Strong despotic or coercive power but weak infrastructural or transformative
-Purpose of colonial rule was extractive rather than developmental
-The power structure of the colonial state was intended by ruling elites after
independence to protect their interests
Types of State Power:
1. Despotic Power: the power to control and suppress (Global south, Columbia)
2. Infrastructural Power: the power to administer and transform (Global north)
III. Development Traps
Development Trap: the vicious circle of poverty that prevents a country from developing
Collier’s Thesis: the real challenge of development is that there is a group of countries at
the bottom that are falling behind, and often falling apart (e.g. the bottom billion).
Conflict Trap: War makes a country poor and poverty makes a country prone to war
Natural Resources Trap: “resource curse” – Countries with an abundant supply of a
single valuable natural resource tend to have lower levels of development
Landlocked with Bad Neighbours Trap: - The poorer your neighbours, the more likely
you are to be poor (eg. Switzerland, Germany and Austria)
Bad Governance Trap: Poor government leads to poor policy and low economic
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