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November 07, 2016
By Aistė Jotautytė, manifestos by students in Theories and Issues in International Development
The students of the Theories and Issues in International Development module had a group task to create party manifestos. We were all 'participating' in elections in Brazil, and each group had to adhere to a certain theory of international development: modernization theory, dependency theory or structuralism.
Some of the most influential works in this theory were produced by Arthur Lewis and Walt W. Rostow. The theory offers the view that economic growth is the focal defining characteristic of economic development and it can only be achieved through industrialization. The theory entails a linear transformation of a traditional society into a dynamic, capitalist economy and argues that it is possible to identify universally applying dominant characteristics of this process. An essential element of modernization here is the emergence of an entrepreneurial capitalist class.
Associated with Paul A. Baran and Andre Gunder Frank, dependency theory suggests that the prospects of the development are determined by a country’s position in the international economy. Industrially advanced countries have been able to use today’s underdeveloped countries as sources of cheap raw material and as markets for their goods, which has led to patterns of unequal exchange. Resources flow from the 'periphery' (underdeveloped states) to the 'core' (wealthy states), which increases the accumulation of capital in the developed countries and in turn perpetuates the underdevelopment of the poorer states. This situation is very much historically determined, since the unique characteristics of the periphery and the core states result from colonization in the past. Therefore, it is difficult to escape the dynamics of the periphery unless a state cuts its links with the world market.
Founded by Raoul Prebisch, the theory focuses on the structural aspects impeding states’ economic growth. The theory rejects conventional trade theory and argues that the way forward is through transformation of domestic economic structures. This can be done through a major government intervention in the economy to fuel the industrial sector. Developing countries should aim at inward-oriented development, decreasing the reliance on the export of raw materials, at the same time reducing their dependency on the trade with already industrialized countries.
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