POLC90 - REVIEW SHEET 1
1. How was has the history of development ideas evolved over time?
• Development of capitalism: neoliberalism
• Development alongside capitalism: interventionism, market efficiency, “governing the market”
Development against capitalism: structuralism, more people centered
• Rejection of development: post development, critiquing development studies, challenging development
2. Where does each of the major theories fit in the timeline of development?
• 1950s: modernization, progress, growth, urbanization, the ‘Third World’ as an undifferentiated concept
• 1960s/1970s: rural development & agriculture underdevelopment dependency, state-led growth &
1980s: debt crisis, structural adjustments, neoliberal economics.
• 1990s: environment, gender, indigenous rights, grassroots development, globalization & resistance,
• 2000s: post-development, post-Washington consensus, post-modernism
1. What are the stages of Rostow’s linear stage theory and how do countries move from one stage to the
Traditionalsociety: characterized as a poor subsistence life without hope of accumulation, wealth, or
income and no attempt to better one’s lot.
Modernsociety:characterized as forward-looking, committed to growth and improvement. It is based on
competition and the laws of the market place that rewards success. Driven by the search for profit and
wealth and is also based on taking risks in order to make that great leap forward
a. traditional society: society’s culture is pre-scientific and agriculture-based
• one whose structure is developed within limited production functions, based on pre-Newtonian
science and technology, and on pre-Newtonian attitudes towards the physical world.
• a ceiling existed on the level of attainable output per head. (due to the unavailability of
• long run fatalism: assumption that the range of possibilities open to one’s grandchildren would
be just about what it had been for one’s grandparents but there was always that possibility that
through hard work an individual can improve his fate
• the centre of gravity of political power generally lay in the hands of those who owned/controlled
• e.g.: dynasties in China, civilization of the Middle East and the Mediterranean, the world of
b. the pre-conditions for take-off: the equilibrium of traditional society is challenged by science,
foreign commerce, or invasion
• initially developed in Western Europe of the late 17th and early 18th c. as the insights of modern
science began to be translated into new production functions in both agriculture and industry
• Britain favoured by geography, natural resources, trading possibilities, social and political
structure, was the first to develop fully the preconditions for take-off POLC90 - REVIEW SHEET 2
• preconditions arose not endogenously but from external intrusion by advanced societies: these
invasions - literal or figurative - shocked the traditional society and began or hastened its
• idea spreads not merely that economic progress is possible, but that economic progress is a
necessary condition for some other purpose, judged to be good: national dignity, private profit,
general welfare, or a better life for the children
• society still mainly characterized by traditional low-productivity methods, by the old social
structure and values, and by the regionally based political institutions that developed in
conjunction with them
• building of an effective centralized national state - on the basis of coalitions touched with a new
nationalism, in opposition to the traditional landed regional interests, the colonial power, or both.
c. the take-off occurs: occurs when political power accrues to a group that regards economic growth
as key (e.g. capitalist class/entrepreneurs)
• interval when the old blocks and resistances to steady growth are finally overcome. Growth
becomes its normal condition.
• Britain the proximate stimulus for take-off was mainly technological.
• new industries expand rapidly, yielding profits a large proportion of which are reinvested in new
• The new class of entrepreneurs expands; and it directs the enlarging flows of investment in the
private sector. The economy exploits hitherto unused natural resources and methods of
d. the drive to maturity - the period in which countries become an active participant in international
• capacity to move beyond the original industries which powered its take-off
• technological and entrepreneurial skills to produce anything that it chooses
• its dependence is a matter of economic choice or political priority rather than a technological or
• balancing off the new against the older values and institutions, or revising the latter in such
ways as to support rather than to retard the growth process.
e. the age of high mass consumption: after two generations the fruits of growth are finally transferred
to the masses.
• 2 things happened
• (1) real income per head rose to a point where a large number of persons gained a command
over consumption which transcended basic food, shelter, and clothing
• (2) structure of the working force changed in ways which increased not only the proportion of
urban to total population, but also the proportion of the population working in offices or in skilled
factory jobs - aware of and anxious to acquire the consumption fruits of a mature economy
• the emergence of the welfare state is one manifestation of a society’s moving beyond technical
• Historically, the decisive element has been the cheap mass automobile
Prescriptions for change
• reject traditional values in favor of Western values
• Hypothesis: countries with stronger traditions of democracy capitalism and secularism should
experience greater economic growth and development then those countries without such
• follow the course charted by the West: they can learn from our mistakes and skip them and jump right to
the good stuff.
• Hypothesis: countries of the South should experience a similar historical trajectory of development
of those in the North but at an accelerated pace POLC90 - REVIEW SHEET 3
• strengthen ties to the West (foreign education, trade, media)
• countries closer in proximity and through commercial ties to the core powers Europe and the US
should be more developed then those that are not
• policy change in the South will help them to advance along the way
• Hypothesis: countries that more closely follow the policy prescriptions of the WB, IMF, IFIs of the
North should be more developed than those countries that do not.
• Continued economic growth in the North
• Hypothesis: countries of the South should experience peaks of growth and development when the
core countries are performing well economically
2. What are the major contributions and criticisms of modernization theory in terms of our understanding
of poverty and development?
• brought attention to issues of international development
• dogmatic/ideological biased
• false assumption of a level playing field
• does not acknowledge colonial legacies
does not acknowledge inequalities
3. What explains the shift away from explaining development toward a concern with political order on the
part of the modernization theorists?
• due to the rapid phase of modernization and a possible lag (political gap hypothesis), Huntington
offered a theoretical approach (new institutionalism) to explain revolution based on the role of
political institutions. He suggests that institutions should be strengthened first before a nation
modernizes. Otherwise, political decay may ensue, that is, in large part the product of rapid social
change and the rapid mobilization of new groups into politics coupled with the slow development of
• premised under the assumption that economic development and political stability are two
independent goals and progress toward one has no necessary connection with progress toward the
• thus, commitment to the maintenance of order becomes the Supreme political value
• new institutionalism suggests that institutions are capable of shaping political outcomes by
structuring the rules of the games
1. Is dependent development possible or even desirable?
It is possible but not desirable.
Although according to Frank, under capitalism, development in the South is impossible since its
underdevelopment is a necessary companion/product of development in the North. This process can be POLC90 - REVIEW SHEET 4
rooted from 16th century colonialism. The only way for the South to develop is to sever its ties from the
Cardoso, however, argues that dependent development is possible under a capitalist system,
albeit in a limited form. This is because despite the South’s subordinate position, its actors still retain
agency which enables them to formulate strategies that benefit them. Nevertheless, the benefits accrued
from dependent development is minimal and only a few local interests are satisfied at the expense of the
majority of the population of the South.
Therefore, Evans argues that in order to obtain a viable form of development, a reconstruction of
the global markets rules that favours social democracy should be the goal. Under this system, it is
suggested that external aggressive market participation and internal social protection will go hand in hand.
2. Why didn’t the dependency school of thought have a greater impact on development policy?
Due to the emergence of globalization, it becomes extremely difficult to apply the classical
dependency’s prescription for change, that is, a full scale socialist revolution to overthrow capitalism in the
South and cut ties with the North. In this regard, according to Heller, Rueschemeyer & Snyder, suggests
that national insertion into the global economy seems a more viable option especially as evidenced by the
experiences of the Asian Tigers and the rapid emergence of the BRIC countries. This has also led to a
much more complex and multi-layered geo-economic global system than was the case of the original
industrializers (exclusively from the North).
Furthermore, Cardoso explains that globalized social democracy which combines openness to
international markets, robust social policies that promote social justice, and a democratically accountable
state, is the preferred strategy of development for contemporary, at least in Latin American countries.
3. How does the world system theory compare with dependency theory in terms of their analysis of
• similar with dependency theory as they both suggest that all politics take place within the framework
of an exploitative global capitalist economy. Also states are not the only actors of importance on the
global stage. Social classes are important and so are regional groupings of states.
• The difference is that WST begins its unit of analysis already at the world capitalist system (and
one moves down from this level to study individual countries).
• WST’s approach is historical and given the dynamics of history, the social institutions that emerge
from the world system do not remain static (unlike dependency theory), they are constantly
changing. Introduction of the semi-periphery is key to the reproduction and continued stability of a
system defined by exploitation and increasing wealth inequality. The SP, which both benefits and is
exploited too, acts as a middle man between the core and periphery and because of the potential of
the semi-periphery to move upward (or downward) it has an interest in supporting the existing
dominant system. It also acts as a buffer against the anger and grievances that may emanate from
the periphery and therefore help to reproduce the predominant system
• locating the emergence of the world system in Europe around the 16th century with the rise of
capitalism which expanded to the entire globe as a result of colonization with capitalism being the
driving force behind this expansionary process
1. What are the main features of Marxism’s evolutionary approach to development?
• The forces for social change and development, that is the class struggles between the proletariat and
the bourgeoisie, are internal to Third World societies not external to them.
• capitalism is capable of producing growth in the economies of the south: capitalism can bring about
massive increase in trade and sweeping technological advances, because the bourgeoisie cannot exist POLC90 - REVIEW SHEET 5
without constant technological innovations and expansion of markets. Poverty is due to feudalism which
has no commitment to industrialization, industrial production under the feudal system was monopolized
by closed guilds, and no longer suffices for the growing wants of the new markets..
• imperialism can be an agent of progress by destabilizing traditional societies. The rapid improvement of
all instruments of production, the cheap prices of commodities, and means of communication, draws all,
even the most barbarian, nations into civilization and forces them to adopt the bourgeois mode of
production. It has made barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilized ones.
• the formation of socialism is inevitable, and capitalism is a necessary stage in the progressive evolution
to socialist development, even though capitalist is exploitative, it is the only one that leads to socialism.
Capitalism is self-destructive, as workers (who are the majority of the population) will unite and become
a powerful political force (they will form the working class, join unions and political parties), revolt and
overthrow capitalism and instate socialism, and only then will development occur.
2. What are the potential contributions of structuralist explanations for understanding politics and
Structuralism: suggests that structural relationships have a powerful logic that shapes and constrains the
identities, aspirations and actions of the actors
• have to address the underlying structures to succeed in bringing about development (land reform,
issues of inequality)
• look at the bigger issues such as being dependent in a foreign power
• overly deterministic: Structuralism has often been criticized for being ahistorical and for favoring
deterministic structural forces over the ability of people to act.
3. What are the key features of imperialism today?
• the overseas expansion of the multinational corporations has been made possible by the military and
political expansion of Euro-American imperialism via NATO and surrogate armies in southern Africa,
Latin America and Asia.
• colonies are crucial for providing new markets, natural resources and economic surplus for the core
• the US imperialism emerged out of the end of ww2, and was constituted by a complex intermeshing of
political, economic, financial and military forces
• the US changed the very form of imperial control by refusing to rest its imperium on formal direct
political control, but instead operates in and through a system of political independent states
• US imperialism exercises control not only over territory and population, but also over capital and its
flows in the US-dominated world financial system
• the neoliberal ‘counter-revolution’ in economic policy, launched by the US and the UK in the 1980s, and
the financial globalization that went with it, were designed to increase the power of the US private
• capital flows of MNCs are directed by strategic decisions made in their headquarters in imperial states,
and these decisions depend on the political and economic conditions created by the imperial state and
its representatives in the IFIs. POLC90 - REVIEW SHEET 6
• decisions and decision-makers of IFIs are closely linked to the imperial states and the multinational
corporations that influence them.
• all top IFI officials are appointed by their national/imperial governments, and all the crucial policy
guidelines that dictate their loans and conditions for lending are set by the finance, treasury and
economy ministers of the imperial states.
• the vast majority of funds for the IFIs come from the imperial states, and representation on the executive
boards of the IFIs is based on the proportion of funding provided by the imperial states.
• MNCs are headquartered in imperial states, where most of the strategic decisions, director and profits
• over recent decades major financial and economic crises have occurred in various regions of the world.
In each instance, the US have intervened to save multi-naitional corporations and avoid a collapse of
the financial system.
• (examples: Clinton dispatched $20 billion to bail out US investors and stabilize the peso in 1994 when
Mexican finances were on the verge of collapse. During the Asian financial crisis in 1998, the US and
European governments approved the IMF and the World Bank a multi-billion-dollar bailout in exchange
for an opening of Asian economies. Washington also pressured the IMF to bail out the Brazilian and
• the imperial state operates in synergy with its multinational corporations, the state is the enforcer of
investment guarantees, a crucial element in corporate investment expansion. The multinational
corporations want state participation to guarantee that their capital will not be expropriated, subject to
‘discriminatory’ taxes or restricted in remitting profits.
• all major internationally binding trade agreements, liberalizing trade and establishing new trade
regulations, are negotiated by the states, enforced by the states and subject to state modification. (i.e.
the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the World Trade Organization). Bilateral as well as
regional multilateral trade pacts (EU, NAFTA, LAFTA) are initiated by states to open new markets for
• competition among rival economic enterprises and multi-national corporations has been spearheaded
essentially by rival imperial states
• (examples: in 1989 the European states threatened to ban meat imports from the US on the grounds
that growth-inducing hormone treatment of livestock constituted a health risk. The US government
threatened to retaliate by preventing imports of European meat worth $100 million)
• the state plays a pervasive and profound role in the conquest of overseas markets and the protection of
local markets. E.g. direct and indirect subsidies for exports.
• the imperial states, via the IFIs, pressure loan recipient states in the Third World through conditionality
agreements to lower or eliminate trade barriers and privatize and denationalize enterprises, thus
permitting US, European and Japanese multinational corporations to penetrate markets and buy into or
purchase local enterprises.
• i.e. structural adjustment programs, the Asian financial crisis
1. How have neoliberal theorists rewritten the history of development?
Neoliberal theorists have rewritten the history of development by positing neoliberalism as a
hegemonic idea with seemingly no alternative. Neoliberalization has led to institutional reform and POLC90 - REVIEW SHEET 7
adjustment around the world, even though there is evidence for geographical inequality. Neoliberal
policies have been embedded in the WTO (governing international trade) and by the IMF (governing
international finance). All states that sign on to the WTO and the IMF agree to abide by these rules or face
severe penalties. The creation of this neoliberal system has entailed much destruction, not only of prior
institutional frameworks and powers but also of divisions of labor, social relations, welfare provisions,
technological mixes, ways of life, attachments to the land, habits of the heart, ways of thought, and the
2. What were some of the shifts in development thinking that resulted from the introduction of the
The Washington Consensus describes the neoliberal policy reforms that the international financial
institutions (IFIs), based in Washington, are imposing throughout the Global South. These policy reforms
1. The over-extension of the public sector in favour of privatization
2. The over-emphasis on investment in physical capital in favour of trade and exports
3. The use of protectionism in favour of free market principles
* Opposite of the policies the West used to attain development
3. What are the major contributions and criticisms of rational choice explanations for our understanding of
Rationalchoice: a methodologically individualist theory that reveals how intentional and rational actors
generate collective outcomes
Individualism: it is individual agents, not institutions and structures, who take action