dependency theory


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dependency theory

a theory of economic, social and political change which attempts to explain the continuing poverty, deprived social conditions and political instability of many poor countries in terms of their dominance by rich and powerful countries.

Dependency theory was first developed by economists in Latin America in the 1950s in opposition to the prevailing orthodoxy that THIRD WORLD countries could achieve MODERNIZATION and INDUSTRIALIZATION by following the examples of the already industrialized world. As it was developed by FRANK (1967b), the theory argues that Third World countries’ problems were created by the colonial and trade dominance of Europe and the US. Their economies were shaped, firstly, by the needs of the advanced countries for agricultural and mineral goods, and, secondly, by the requirement to provide markets for the manufactured goods from the North. Any indigenous manufacturing in the Third World was suppressed by a combination of COMPETITION and political COERCION. Economic surpluses flowed out of the Third World through the repatriation of any profits, and terms of UNEQUAL EXCHANGE, whereby prices of Third World exports were comparatively lower than their manufactured imports, were employed. Thus, the Third World contributed to the economic growth and industrialization of Europe and the US, and that process created structures in the Third World which made industrialization there difficult or impossible. The Third World cannot repeat the experiences of the US or Europe because its starting point is different. In Frank's terms, it is underdeveloped, not undeveloped.

The theory was very influential in sociology in the 1970s. Whilst often termed neo-Marxist, it came under increasing criticism from Marxist writers. In particular, it has been criticized for concentrating on market rather than production relations. In one of the most rigorous critiques, Taylor (1979) has argued that the central concept of economic surplus is extremely weak. More general criticisms include its relative neglect of the contribution of internal social relations to problems which poor countries face, and the increasing diversity of their experiences. In the 1980s, many countries labelled Third World experienced significant processes of industrialization and rapid economic growth which most dependency analyses would seem to preclude. The main analysis within dependency theory which is most likely to endure is the work of Cardoso and Faletto (1979). This identifies different forms of dependency over time and space, and incorporates a detailed analysis of the class structure of Latin America. However, as Mouzelis (1988) argues, this too suffers from an over-general analysis which seems no longer adequate to embrace the diversity of experiences in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Roxborough (1984) adds that such overschematized analyses of history can now be improved as social scientific and historical studies become more adequate.

References in periodicals archive ?
Not surprisingly, dependency theory is the target of some of the most pulverizing blows in Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot.
Using a Marxist version of the dependency theory Elia Zureik [8] employed a colonialist model to describe the position of the Palestinians in Israel.
Thus Anglo-Canadian sociologists turned to three main theoretical sources for inspiration: dependency theory, newly emerged from Latin America and the initial work of Andre Gunder Frank; staples theory, English Canada's own historical contributions to political economy; and Marxism.
Path dependency theory predicts that CEO ownership is an outcome of a firm's financing history.
Gugler uses the introductions to each section to place the essays in the larger context of academic theory There have been three major perspectives influencing the study of urbanization since the end of the colonial period: modernization theory; urban bias theory; and dependency theory.
United behind the ideas of dependency theory, which held that underdevelopment reflected the unfair structure of the world economy, they demanded the creation of a more just New International Economic Order (NIEO).
And the debate over dependency theory focused on rival models--Latin America versus East Asia--not on Africa.
Later, this plan promoting economic development through import substitution turned more radical at the hands of theorists including Andre Gunder Frank, who pushed dependency theory as an explanation for Latin America's failure.
Drawing on the dependency theory and world systems perspectives she analyses the ways in which the economy of village communities has been transformed in the contemporary world.
We will now consider two of these; dependency theory and the neo-classical resurgence.
Sherman contends that many Christian NGOs choose a statist model of development because of overdependence on the dependency theory and outdated information that ignores" the renaissance of democratic fervor across the globe" (p.

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