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Editorial introduction
It is generally appreciated that ideas about how development can be put into practice have
long been both controversial and highly contested. Development involves a range of actors,
from international agencies, through the state, various organizations, down to the individual,
all of whom have a vested interest in how change and development should proceed. Thus, all
facets of development not only depend on political ideology, but on moral and ethical judge-
ments and prescriptions too. Thus, ideas about development over time have tended to accu-
mulate and accrue, rather than fade away. Right-wing, left-wing and liberal views remain
whatever the political hegemony current at the time. These sorts of ideas are considered at
the outset in this part of the book, before turning to some of the major theories and strategies
of development that have been followed and popularized.
Right-wing stances on development can be regarded as having their origins in the
Enlightenment and the era of modernity that followed. The eighteenth-century Enlighten-
ment period saw an increasing emphasis placed on science, rationality and detailed empiri-
cism. It also witnessed the establishment of the West and Europe as the ideal. It was during
this period that the classical economists, Adam Smith and David Ricardo, writing in the
1700s, developed ideas surrounding the concept of comparative advantage, which stressed the
economic efficacy of global free trade and, in many senses, gave rise to the earliest capitalist
strateg ies of econom ic development. The approach envisaged little or no gover nment restr ic-
tions on the operation of the economy.
Such approaches were followed by a plethora of dualistic and linear conceptualizations of
the development process, including modernization theory, unbalanced and unequal growth,
and top-down and hierarchical formulations. Together, such paths are generally referred to
as neo-classical or top-down development. Whatever ones critical view of modernization,
the framework usefully pinpointed the salience of change as a necessary factor in the devel-
opment equation.
These classically inspired approaches are, of course, still alive and kicking, in the form of
the lineage of the so-called new right orthodoxy of the 1980s, involving the magic of the
market and the neoliberal policies of structural adjustment, and more recently, poverty

Part 2

Theories and strategies

of development

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Theories and strategies of development
reduction strategies. The rise of so-called neoliberalism followed the global recession of
19781983, which witnessed a clear turn away from the ideas of Keynes, who in the Great
Depression of the 1930s had argued that governments should spend their way out of reces-
sion. Policies of privatization, deregulation and public sector cutbacks, and the withdrawal of
the state became the order of the day under the global inf luence of President Reagan and
Prime Minister Thatcher in the 1980s. The IMF and World Bank enforced essentially the
same generic types of policies on those developing nations seeking development assistance, in
the form of structural adjustment programmes. While some analysts have inferred that the
2008 global economic recession has witnessed something of a break in the hegemony of the
long wave of neoliberalism and right-wing development, other commentators are more cir-
cumspect in concluding that neoliberalism has survived and will continue to dominate the
global economy.
The antithesis to classical and neo-classical views was provided by radical-dependency
approaches in the 1960s. It is a reflection of the Eurocentricity of development theory that
Andre Gunder Frank, a German-born and American-trained economist, has become the
name most closely associated with dependency theory. This is despite the fact that the
dependency approach essentially stemmed from the writings of structuralists working in
Latin America and the Caribbean. In respect of process, dependency theory was couched in
terms of inverted cascading global chains of surplus extraction, and it was again all too easy to
reduce this to simple dichotomous terms, involving polar opposites such as coreperiphery,
richpoor, developedunderdeveloped, and metropolesatellite.
Although today many may reject pure dependency theory as an overblown reaction to
right-wing free market orthodox y, it is tempting to suggest that such ideas can inform deci-
sions about development strategies in the more-realistic setting of the mixed economy. For
example, if tourism is followed as an explicit development strategy, how much dependence
should be placed on foreign ownership and multinational capital? How much should local
indigenous resources and capital be targeted in order to stimulate the indigenous economy?
These are real development choices that need to be made even in a mixed economy context
and one can argue that these choices are better understood in light of pure dependency
theory.
It was left to world systems theory to stress that contemporary development has involved
the emergence of a substantial semi-periphery in addition to the core and periphery identi-
fied by classic dependency theory. This semi-periphery largely consists of the newly indus-
trializing countries (NICs) of East Asia and Latin America.
From the 1970s onward, what may be regarded as alternative views on development were
espoused in many quarters, including the need for participatory development and the need to
listen to indigenous voices in development in the form of indigenous environmental knowl-
edge. The era of postmodernity  stressing the rejection of high modernism  may not be
regarded as fitting the realities of the developing world or poor countries in all respects, but
the existence of these notions cannot be ignored in the analysis of the conditions faced by
such nations. Early standpoints that took a less generic, less monumental and less linear view
of the development process included what are referred to under the headings bottom-up
and agropolitan approaches, which have come to include ideas of another development. All
these approaches stressed the importance of local indigenous knowledge and ways of doing
things rather than running with the market.
More recently, the wider postist stance afforded by postcolonialism has been added to the
critique. This argues that the production of Western knowledge has been inseparable from the
exercise of Western power, and critiques the outcomes of colonialism that have underpinned

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Theories and strategies of development
Eurocentric worldviews on development. It is stressed that colonialism has been associated
with insensitivity to the views, practices and conditions of other cultures. Post-development
as an approach is similarly sceptical about the whole manner in which development has been
framed in terms of grand narratives, suggesting that the whole question of development needs
to be closely questioned, problematized and possibly rejected. Under such a perspective devel-
opment is seen as contradictory at best. Finally, it is notable that evolving conceptualizations
of the role of social capital underpin continuing debates concerning development theory and
practice.

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Theories, strategies and ideologies of development

2.

Theories, strategies and

ideologies of development

An overview

Robert B. Potter
Introduction
A major characteristic of the multi-, inter- and cross-disciplinary field of development stud-
ies since its establishment in the 1940s has been a series of sea-level changes in thinking about
the process of development itself. This search for new theoretical conceptualizations of devel-
opment has been mirrored by changes in the practice of development in the field. Thus, there
has been much debate and controversy about development, with many changing views as to
its definition, and the strategies by means of which, however development is defined, it may
be pursued. In short, the period since the 1950s has seen the promotion and application of
many varied views of development. And the literature on development theory and practice
has burgeoned (see, for example, Hettne, 1995; Preston, 1996; Cowen and Shenton, 1996;
Potter et al ., 2008; Peet and Hartwick, 2009; Chant and McIlwaine, 2009; Nederveen Pieterse,
2010; Thirlwall, 2011; Potter et al ., 2012). A major theme is that ideas about development
have long been controversial and highly contested.
It is also necessary to stress that development covers both theory and practice, that is, both
ideas about how development should or might occur, and real-world efforts to put various
aspects of development into practice. This is conveniently mapped into the nomenclature
suggested by Hettne in his overview of Development Theory and the Three Worlds (1995). In
reviewing the history of development thinking, he suggested that development involves
three things: development theories , development strategies and development ideologies.
Development theories
If a theory is defined as a set of logical propositions about how some aspect of the real world
is structured, or the way in which it operates, development theories may be regarded as sets of
ostensibly logical propositions, which aim to explain how development has occurred in the
past, and/or how it should occur in the future (Potter et al ., 2008). Development theories
can either be normative , that is they can generalize about what should happen or what should
be the case in an ideal world; or positive in the sense of dealing with what has generally been
the case in the past. This important distinction is broadly exemplified in the figure that
accompanies this account (see Figure 2.1.1). Hettne (1995) remarks that development studies
is explicitly normative, and that teachers, researchers and practitioners in the field want to
change the world, not only analyse it (Hettne, 1995: 12). The arena of development theory

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84
Theories and strategies of development
is primarily, although by no means exclusively, to be encountered in the academic litera-
ture, that is, in writing about development. It is, therefore, inherently controversial and
contested.
Development strategies
On the other hand, development strategies can be defined as the practical paths to development
which may be pursued by international agencies, states, non-government organizations and
community-based organizations, or indeed individuals, in an effort to stimulate change
within particular areas, regions, nations and continents. Thus, Hettne (1995) provides a
definition of development strategies as efforts to change existing economic and social struc-
tures and institutions in order to find enduring solutions to the problems facing decision-
makers. As such, Hettne argues that the term development strategy implies an actor, normally
the state. In order to sound less top-down, it is necessary to think in terms of a wider set of
development-oriented actors, including all those listed above.
NORMATIVE THEORY
(what should be the case)
POSITIVE THEORY
(what has been the case)
ECONOMIC HOLISTIC
Alternative
approaches
self-
reliance
another
development
bottom-up
development
neo-populism
ecodevelopment,
sustainable development
basic needs
Classical
traditional
neoliberal
policies
hierarchic
diffusion
dualism
top-down
Dependency
world-systems
theory
articulation
of the modes of
production
neo-Marxism
dependencia or dependency
theory
Historical
approaches
core
periphery
cumulative
causation
mercantile
model
plantopolis
new right
stages of growth
transport
evolution
modernization
theory
Figure 2.1.1 A framework for considering development theories
Source: Potter et al. 1999 Figure 3.

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Theories, strategies and ideologies of development
Development ideologies
Different development agendas will ref lect different goals and objectives. These goals will
ref lect social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, moral and even religious inf luences.
Thus, what may be referred to as different development ideologies may be recognized. For
example, both in theory and in practice, early perspectives on development were almost
exclusively concerned with promoting economic growth. Subsequently, however, the pre-
dominant ideology within the academic literature changed to emphasize wider sets of polit-
ical, social, ethnic, cultural, ecological and other dimensions of the wider human processes
of development and change. Theories in development are distinctive by virtue of the fact
that they involve the intention to change society in some defined manner. One of the clas-
sic examples is the age-old battle between economic policies which increase growth but
widen income disparities, and those wider policy imperatives which seek primarily to
reduce inequalities within society. All such efforts to effect change reflect some form of
ideological base.
Development thinking
Perhaps the sensible approach is to follow Hettne (1995) and to employ the overarching
concept of development thinking in our general deliberations. The expression development
thinking may be used as a catch-all phrase indicating the sum total of ideas about develop-
ment, that is, including pertinent aspects of development theory, strategy and ideology.
Such an all-encompassing def inition is necessar y due to the nature of thinking about devel-
opment itself. As noted at the outset, development thinking has shown many sharp twists
and turns during the twentieth century. The various theories that have been produced have
not commanded attention in a strictly sequential-temporal manner. In other words, as a new
set of ideas about development has come into favour, earlier theories and strategies have not
been totally abandoned and replaced. Rather, theories and strategies have tended to stack
up, one upon another, coexisting, sometimes in what can only be described as very convo-
luted and contradictory manners. Thus, in discussing development theory, Hettne (1995:
64) has drawn attention to the tendency of social science paradigms to accumulate rather
than fade away.
Development studies and disciplinary revolution/evolution
The characteristics of development studies as a distinct field of enquiry can be considered in
a somewhat more sophisticated manner by referring to Thomas Kuhns ideas on the structure
of scientific revolutions. Kuhn (1962) argued that academic disciplines are dominated at par-
ticular points in time by communities of researchers and their associated methods, and they
thereby define the subjects and the issues deemed to be of importance within them. He
referred to these as invisible colleges, and he noted that these serve to define and perpetu-
ate research which confirms the validity of the existing paradigm or supra-model, as he
referred to it. Kuhn called this normal science. Kuhn noted that only when the number of
observations and questions confronting the status quo of normal science becomes too large
to be dealt with by means of small changes to it, will there be a fundamental shift. However,
if the proposed changes are major and a new paradigm is adopted, a scientific revolution can
be said to have occurred, linked to a period of what Kuhn referred to as extraordinary
research.

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Theories and strategies of development
In this model, therefore, scientific disciplines basically advance by means of revolutions in
which the prevailing normal science is replaced by extraordinary science and, ultimately, a new
form of normal science develops. In dealing with social scientific discourses, it is inevitable that
the field of development theory is characterized by evolutionary, rather than revolutionary
change. Evidence of the persistence of ideas in some quarters, years after they have been dis-
carded elsewhere, will be encountered throughout the development literature. Given that devel-
opment thinking is not just about the theoretical interpretation of facts, but rather about values,
aspirations, social goals, and ultimately that which is moral, ethical and just, it is understandable
that change in development studies leads to the parallel evolution of ideas, rather than revolution.
Hence, conf lict, debate, contention, positionality and even moral outrage are all inherent in the
discussion of development strategies, and associated plural and diverse theories of development.
Approaches to development thinking
There are many ways to categorize development thinking through time. Broadly speaking,
it is suggested here that four major approaches to the examination of development thinking
can be recognized, and these are shown in Figure 2.1.1 (see Potter et al. , 2008). The frame-
work first maps in the distinction previously made between normative development theories
(those focusing on what should be the case), and positive theories (those which ponder on what
has actually been the case). Another axis of difference between theories is seen as relating to
whether they are holistic or partial , and most partial theories emphasize the economic dimen-
sion. This is also intimated in the figure.
These two axes can be superimposed on one another to yield a simple matrix or framework
for the consideration of development thinking, strategies or theories, as shown. Following
Potter et al. (2008: ch. 3), as noted, four distinct groupings of development theory can be rec-
ognized by virtue of their characteristics with regard to the dimensions of holisticeconomic
and normativepositive. The approaches are referred to here as: (i) the classicaltraditional
approach; (ii) the historicalempirical approach; (iii) the radical political economydepend-
ency approach; and, finally, (iv) bottom-up and alternative approaches. Following the argu-
ment presented in the last section, each of these approaches may be regarded as expressing a
particular ideological standpoint, and can also be identified by virtue of having occupied the
centre stage of the development debate at particular points in time. Classicaltraditional the-
ory, embracing dualism, modernization theory, top-down conceptualizations, the new right
and neoliberal imperatives, is seen as stressing the economic and, collectively, existing midway
between the normative and positive poles. In direct contrast, according to this framework,
radicaldependency approaches, embracing neo-Marxism, and the articulation of the modes
of production, are seen as being more holistic. At the positive end of the spectrum exist those
theories which are basically historical in their formulation, and which purport to build upon
what has happened in the past. These include coreperiphery frameworks, cumulative causa-
tion and models of transport evolution, especially the mercantile model. In contrast, once
again, are theories which stress the ideal, or what should be the case. These are referred to as
alternative approaches, and basic needs, neo-populism, another development, ecodevelop-
ment and sustainable development may be included in this category.
Conclusion
Many diverse and varied approaches to development remain in currency today, and in many
different quarters. Hence, in development theory and academic writing, left-of-centre

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Theories, strategies and ideologies of development
socialist views may well be more popular than classical and neo-classical formulations, but in
the area of practical development strategies and policies, the 1980s and beyond have seen the
implementation of neoliberal interpretations of classical theory, stressing the liberalization of
trade, along with public-sector cut-backs. Such plurality and contestation are an everyday
part of the field of development studies. In the words of Hettne (1995: 15), theorizing about
development is therefore a never-ending task.
References
Chant, S. and McIlwaine, C. (2009) Development Geographies in the 21st Century , London: Edward Elgar.
Cowen, M. P. and Shenton, R. (1996) Doctrines of Development , London: Routledge.
Hettne, B. (1995) Development Theory and the Three Worlds: Towards an International Political Economy of
Development (2nd edn), Harlow, UK: Longman.
Kuhn, T. (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions , Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Nederveen Pieterse, J. (2010) Development Theory (2nd edn), London: Sage.
Peet, R. and Hartwick, E. (2009) Theories of Development: Contentions, Arguments, Alternatives (2nd edn),
London: Guilford Press.
Potter, R. B., Binns, T., Elliott, J. and Smith, D. (2008) Geographies of Development: An Introduction to
Development Studies (3rd edn), New York: Pearson-Prentice Hall.
Potter, R. B., Conway, D., Evans, R. and Lloyd-Evans, S. (2012) Key Concepts in Development Geogra-
phy , London: Sage.
Preston, P. W. (1996) Development Theory: An Introduction , Oxford: Blackwell.
Thirlwall, A. P. (2011) Economics of Development: Theory and Evidence (9th edn), London: Palgrave Mac-
millan.
Further reading
Hettne, B. (1995) Development Theory and the Three Worlds: Towards an International Political Economy of
Development (2nd edn), Harlow, UK: Longman. Brief ly introduces the concepts of development
theories, strategies and ideologies (pp. 1516), before presenting an overview of Eurocentric devel-
opment thinking, the voice of the other, globalization and development theory, and another
development.
Peet, R. and Hartwick, E. (2009) Theories of Development: Contentions, Arguments, Alternatives (2nd
edn), London: Guilford Press. The two substantive sections, making up chapters 27, review what
are referred to as conventional (Keynesian economics to neoliberalism, modernization) and non-
conventional/critical (Marxism, socialism, post-structural, postcolonialism, feminist) theories of
development.
Potter, R. B., Binns, T., Elliott, J. and Smith, D. (2008) Geographies of Development (3rd edn), Harlow,
UK: Prentice Hall. Seeks to stress the plural and contested nature of development theory and prac-
tice. Chapter 3 overviews theories and strategies of development, stressing their diversity and val-
ue-laden character. The structure of the account is based on the figure employed in the present
chapter.
Preston, P. W. (1996) Development Theory: An Introduction , Oxford: Blackwell. The first part of the book
treats social theory in general terms. Thereafter, contemporary theories of development are sum-
marized followed by what are referred to as new analyses of complex change.

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2.

Smith, Ricardo and the

world marketplace,

1776 to 2 012

Back to the future and beyond

David Sapsford
Introduction
Why do countries trade with one another? What determines the terms on which trade
between countries is conducted in the world marketplace? These two questions are perhaps
the most fundamental to be considered in any analysis of international trade, be it trade
between developed and developing countries or trade amongst countries in either the develop-
ing or the developed world. These questions are of special importance in the context of
econom ic development, since i f there are g a ins f rom t rade to be had, the d ist r ibut ion of such
gains between trading partners carries important implications for living standards and eco-
nomic welfare within the participating countries.
The classical economists, most notably Adam Smith (172390) and David Ricardo (1772
1823) considered these two questions, and their analyses are outlined in the following
section. Subsequent sections consider the available evidence regarding the changes that have
occurred over the long run in the terms on which trade between developed and developing
nations has been conducted, and explore the implications of this for economic development
in the Third World.
Absolute and comparative advantage
The foundations of the economic theory of international trade were laid by Adam Smith in
The Wealth of Nations (1776). Smiths analysis of division of labour is well known and to a
large extent he saw the phenomenon of international trade as a logical extension of this pro-
cess, with particular regions or countries (rather than particular individuals) specializing in
the production of particular commodities. Smiths view is clearly demonstrated by the
following quotation:
It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home
what it will cost him more to make than buy... What is prudence in the conduct of
every private family, can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom. If a foreign country
can supply us with a commodity cheaper than we ourselves can make it, better buy of

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Smith, Ricardo and the world marketplace
them with some part of the produce of our own industry, employed in a way in which
we have some advantage.
(Smith, 1776: 424)
Thus, according to Smith, countries engage in trade with one another in order to acquire
goods more cheaply than they could produce them domestically, paying for them with some
proportion of the output that they produce domestically by specializing according to their
own advantage. Central to this view is the notion that relative prices determine trade pat-
terns, with countries buying abroad when foreign prices are below domestic ones. In addi-
tion, Smith argued that by expanding the size of the market, international trade permits
greater specialization and division of labour than would otherwise have been possible. This
is perhaps one of the earliest arguments in favour of globalization as a process by which the
size of the world marketplace is increased.
Economics textbooks abound with simple two-country/two-good examples that illus-
trate Smiths argument. Suppose that the world consists of only two countries (say, the UK
and the USA) and only two goods (say, food and clothing). Within this (over)simplified
framework let us assume that the USA is more efficient than the UK at producing food (in
the sense that fewer resources are needed to produce a unit of food in the USA than in the
UK) and (in the same least resource-cost sense) that the UK is more efficient than the USA
at producing clothing. In economists terminology, this example represents the case where
the UK possesses absolute advantage in the production of clothing, while the USA possesses
absolute advantage in the production of food. To further simplify, let us assume that labour is
the only factor of production and that within each country it is mobile between the two
industries. Assume also that wages are the same in both countries and that transport costs are
zero. Based on this battery of assumptions, the USA will be the cheaper source of food and
the UK of clothing. It is a matter of simple arithmetic to show that if both countries are ini-
tially producing some of each good, it is always possible to increase output of both goods if
each country specializes in the production of that good for which it possesses absolute advan-
tage. It also follows that by trading, each country can consume the bundle of clothing and
food that it consumed in the absence of trade (that is, under autarky ) while still leaving some
of each product over! Each country thus has the potential to increase its consumption of both
good s and, a ssu m ing that more of each good is preferable to less, t rade can, in pr inciple, a l low
both trading partners to increase their economic welfare. As already noted, the distribution of
this surplus (that is, the distribution of the gains from trade ) between the two countries is an
important matter, especially in the context of economic development. We return to this issue
in the following section.
The case analysed by Adam Smith considered, quite naturally at the time he was writing,
the situation where one country possesses absolute advantage in the production of one good,
while the other country possesses it in the production of the other good. Writing four dec-
ades later, David Ricardo considered the rather more tricky analytical case in which one of
the two countries (say the UK) is more efficient at producing both goods. According to
Adam Smiths absolute advantage argument, both goods should be produced by the UK.
However, this situation can clearly not represent a feasible state of affairs in the long run
since although the USA will seek to purchase both goods from the UK, the UK will not
wish to buy anything from the USA in return. Ricardo (1817) was the first economist to
provide a formal analysis of this case and by so doing he derived his famous Law of Compar-
ative Advantage.

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Theories and strategies of development
According to Ricardos Law of Comparative Advantage, which encompasses Adam
Smiths analysis of absolute advantage as a special case, world output and therefore (on the
basis of the assumption discussed above) world economic welfare will be increased if each
country specializes in the production of that good for which it possesses comparative advan-
tage. The concept of comparative advantage is basically concerned with comparative effi-
ciency and Ricardos law follows from recognizing the fact that differences in the relative
prices of the two goods between the two countries opens up the possibility of mutually
beneficial trade. To take a concrete example, suppose that the labour required to produce 1
unit of each good in each countr y is as set out in Table 2.2.1. Notice that the U K requires less
labour than the USA in both industries.
On the basis of these figures (and assuming that labour productivity in each industry does
not alter with the level of output) we can see that in the absence of trade each unit of food
within the UK trades for 2.5 units of clothing since each is equivalent to the output of five
people. Likewise in the USA 1 unit of food trades for 0.5 unit of clothing, each being the
output of six people. It is the difference between these two relative prices (or internal terms
of trade) that opens up the possibility for mutually beneficial trade. For example, if US prices
prevail in the world outside the UK, a British person in possession of 1 unit of food can
exchange this within the UK for 2.5 units of clothing, which could then be sold in the USA
for 5 units of food; thereby providing a gain equal to 4 units of food. Likewise, if British
relat ive pr ices preva i l, an A mer ican producer employ ing 12 people to make 1 un it of cloth ing
could switch to the food industry and thereby produce 2 units of food, which could then be
sold in the UK for 5 units of clothing; thus realizing a gain of 4 units of clothing. At inter-
mediate relative prices (or terms of trade) both countries can gain from trade, although not
to the extent shown in the respective examples given above.
In a nutshell, according to Ricardos analysis each country shifts its production mix
towards the good for which it possesses comparative advantage. In our example, the UK has
comparative advantage in the production of clothing, whereas the USAs comparative advan-
tage is in food, where it is less inefficient. Reading across the rows in Table 2.2.1 we see that
this follows because the UK requires five-sixths of US unit inputs in food, but only one-sixth
in clothing.
Who gains from trade?
While the elegance of Ricardos analysis and its logical correctness within the confines of its
own assumptions can not be faulted, it does beg a question that is vitally important in the
context of trade that takes place between countries of the developed/industrialized world and
countries of the Third World. While the analysis demonstrates quite clearly the potential ben-
efits to trading partners from engaging in international trade in the world marketplace, it has
nothing whatsoever to say about the division of these potential gains between them. As we
saw in the preceding example, if relative prices in the world marketplace were equal to
Table 2.2.1 Labour requirements matrix
Labour per unit of output
UK USA
Food 5 6
Clothing 2 12

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Smith, Ricardo and the world marketplace
US relative prices then the UK would effectively appropriate all of the gains from trade for
herself whereas, at the opposite end of the spectrum, the USA would scoop all of the gains if
British relative prices prevailed.
In order to focus ideas let us consider trade between the countries of the developed/indus-
trialized world and those of the developing world and, for simplicity, assume that the former
produce manufactured goods while the latter produce primary commodities. The fact that
Ricardos analysis did not shed any light on the issue of how the potential gains from trade
are shared out in practice did not seem to constitute a problem in the minds of classical
economists since in a related context Ricardo, like Smith before him, had argued that as an
inevitable consequence of the twin forces of diminishing returns in the production of pri-
mary commodities from a fixed stock of land (including mineral resources) as population
increased, and the downward pressures on production costs in manufacturing generated by
the moderating inf luences of surplus population and urbanization upon wages, the price of
primary products would rise over the long run in relation to the price of manufactured
goods, thereby giving rise to an upward drift in the net barter terms of trade between pri-
mary commodities and manufactured goods. On the above assumptions, this movement will
translate into an improvement in the terms of trade of developing countries vis--vis the
developed countries. On the basis of this argument there was little, if any, reason to be con-
cerned about the plight of developing countries in the context of their trading relations with
the industrialized world since it predicted that over the long run, the terms of trade would
shift steadily in their favour, with the result that they would enjoy an increasing proportion
of the potential gains from trade.
However, in the early 1950s the classical prediction of a secular improvement was chal-
lenged by both Prebisch (1950) and Singer (1950). Both argued forcefully that in direct
contravention of the then still prevailing classical prediction, the terms of trade had actu-
ally, as a matter of statistical fact, been historically subject to (and could be expected to
continue to be subject to) a declining trend. Both analyses therefore implied that contrary
to the classical view, developing countries were actually obtaining a falling proportion of
the potential gains from their trade with the countries of the developed world. Recent
statistical evidence (Sapsford, Bloch and Pfaffenzeller, 2010) indicates that the declining
trend observed by both Prebisch and Singer persisted into the first decade of the twenty-
first century.
A number of theoretical explanations have been put forward in the literature to account
for the observed downward trend in the terms of trade of developing countries, relative to
developed countries, and these can be conveniently summarized under the following four
headings:
1 differing elasticities of demand for primary commodities and manufactured goods (with the inelas-
tic nature of the former resulting in a tendency for increases in the conditions of com-
modity supply to be felt more strongly in price decreases than in quantity increases);
2 differing rates of growth in the demands for primary commodities and manufactured goods (with
the demand for primaries expanding less rapidly than the demand for manufactures due
to their lower income elasticity of demand  especially so in the case of agricultural
commodities due to the operation of Engels Law  plus the development of synthetic
substitutes and the occurrence in manufacturing of technical progress of the raw mate-
rials-saving sort);
3 technological superiority (the argument being that the prices of manufactured goods rise
relative to those of primaries because they embody both a so-called Schumpeterian rent

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Theories and strategies of development
element for innovation, plus an element of monopolistic profit arising from the monop-
oly power of multinational producers);
4 asymmetries in market structure (the argument here is that differences in market structure
  • with primary commodities typically being produced and sold under competitive con- ditions, while manufacturing in industrialized countries is often characterized by a high degree of monopoly by organized labour and monopoly producers mean that while technical progress in the production of primary commodities results in lower prices, technical progress in manufacturing leads to increased factor incomes as opposed to lower prices).
Policy implications
Although space constraints do not allow the discussion in any detail of the policy implica-
tions of the observed worsening trend in the terms on which trade is conducted in the world
marketplace between primary commodity-producing countries and manufacturing coun-
tries, it is important to note that the PrebischSinger hypothesis is sometimes advanced as
one argument in favour of development policies of the import-substituting industrialization
as opposed to export promotion variety (Sapsford and Balasubramanyam, 1994). However,
the policy issues here are not clear-cut and the fact that all four of the above explanations
relate as much, if not more, to the characteristics of different types of countries as to the
characteristics of different types of traded goods highlights the need to devise and implement
policies that address differences and imbalances of the former as opposed to the latter sort.
It is now the case that at least some of the international agencies involved in the world
trading system have come to accept that primary commodity producers in developing coun-
tries do face real and significant uncertainties and risks regarding the prices that they will
actually receive for their products when they come to the world market. See Morgan (2001)
and Toye (2010) for useful discussions of the array of, largely unimplemented or failed,
schemes that have been put forward over the last seven decades in order to address the price
risks and volatilities faced by primary commodity producers in developing countries.
1776 to 2012: Back to the future?
Some 236 years have elapsed since Adam Smith laid the initial foundations of trade theory as
we know it today. It is testament to the logical correctness of his analysis, especially as extended
by Ricardo, that this theoretical framework is still pivotal to twenty-first century thinking in
both trade theory and policy formulation. As we have seen, the central prediction of this
approach is that provided the world terms of trade lie within the limits imposed by domestic
opportunity cost ratios, international specialization and exchange via trade provides an oppor-
tunity for both trading partners to benefit from increased output (and therefore economic
welfare) with given resource/factor endowments. However, we have also seen that there is a
school of thought surrounding the PrebischSinger hypothesis suggesting that in practice, the
actual terms of trade have drifted, within the range delineated by the Ricardian analysis, in
favour of the industrialized (manufacturing) nations to such an extent that these nations have
appropriated for themselves the lions share of the gains from trade, leaving only small pickings
for the (primary commodity dependent) poorer countries of the developing world.
What does current experience tell us in relation to the fundamental question of who has
gained what from participating in international trade? The basic structure of international

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Smith, Ricardo and the world marketplace
institutions that currently oversee/govern the day-to-day conduct of international trade and
commerce were laid down in 1944 at the famous Bretton-Woods Conference. Prominent
amongst these institutions is what is now known as the World Trade Organisation^1 (WTO)
whose mission, in a nutshell, is to provide an arena and set of processes and rules designed to
achieve multilateral reductions in trade barriers. The underlying philosophy here, squarely in
the spirits of both Smith and Ricardo, is to maximize the potential global gains from trade
by minimizing (if not completely eliminating) impediments to free trade, such as import
tariffs, quotas and so on.
We have now accumulated almost seven decades of experience of the operation of this pro-
cess of tariff reduction via multilateral trade negotiations under the auspices of the WTO and
its predecessors. Although advocates of free trade see the WTO as having achieved considerable
success in its mission to reduce average tariff levels, experience over the last decade or so might
be interpreted as suggesting an altogether less rosy picture when one comes to ask the important
question as to who has actually harvested the global gains generated by this move closer to free
trade in the sense understood by Smith and Ricardo. Although a detailed discussion of the
operation of the WTO is beyond the scope of the current chapter, it should be noted that it
seeks to achieve multilateral reductions in tariff (and other non-tariff ) barriers via a series of
negotiating rounds. In 1994, the trade deal that came out of the so-called Uruguay round of
negotiations was signed, although the negotiations did appear to be on the verge of collapse as
late as 1990. One major factor that surfaced during the Uruguay round was the view of poor,
primary commodity dependent countries that the proposed package would bestow substantial
benefits upon the industrialized countries, while offering them very little. In 1999, pressure to
offer a better deal to poor countries lead to a summit meeting in Seattle, which ended in failure
(accompanied by public disorder). In 2001, in an attempt to reinvigorate the process of multi-
lateral tariff reductions, WTO members agreed to launch fresh talks, known as the Doha
Development Round. However, despite this initiative, the 2003 ministerial summit in Cancun,
Mexico, collapsed in acrimony over the developed countries intransigency over the issue of
removal of subsidies paid to their farmers. Despite several subsequent attempts to inject new life
into the Doha round the process has, effectively, ground to a halt.
What is to be made of this tale? At the time of writing (March 2012) the picture is clearly
one where the very continued existence of the process of tariff reductions via multilateral
negotiations is hanging by little more than a thread. The current stumbling block from the
perspective of the poor countries is the persistent refusal of the major developed countries
(including both the EU and US) to remove the trade barrier imposed by the still substantial
subsidies paid to their farmers. However, there is a wider view, according to which this par-
ticular issue is but a symptom of a more fundamental problem: namely that after participating
in the process of multilateral tariff reduction for at least half a century, the poor countries of
the world have continually seen the gains from the trade being appropriated by their richer
trading partners. Indeed, some commentators are predicting that such is their degree of dis-
satisfaction with a process which has delivered so little to them relative to their richer trading
partners, that group(s) of poor countries are on the verge of withdrawing altogether from the
process in favour of going it alone.
Whether the thread eventually breaks altogether remains to be seen!
Beyond
In primary commodity markets, as in life, things can  and sometimes do  change very
rapidly. Todays world economy is a very different place to that which existed at the turn of

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94
Theories and strategies of development
the twenty-first century. Three factors have been at work: first, the spectacular growth rates
achieved by China and India (plus Brazil) since 2005; second, the sub-prime loans/credit
crunch crisis of 2008; and third, the post-2010 eurozone debt crisis. Each of these factors
carries major implications for developing countries dependent on primary commodity
exports and it remains to be seen how they will interact and work out in the future years and
decades. However, a number of implications are already clear (Sapsford, Bloch and Pfaffen-
zeller, 2010). Not surprisingly, the spectacular growth rates of China and India led to marked
upward movements in the real price of primary commodities in both 2006 and 2007, espe-
cially strongly in the cases of raw materials and metals. What is, however, surprising is the
speed at which these gains in terms of trade of commodity dependent developing countries
evaporated in the wa ke of the 20 08 cred it cr unch. Inter nat iona l Monet a r y Fund d at a ind icate
that while commodity prices peaked in March 2008 they fell with alarming rapidity there-
after. Between March and November 2008, a period of only eight months, the IMFs index
of non-fuel primary commodity prices fell by 32 per cent, with corresponding falls in the
prices of industrial inputs and food and beverages equalling 35 and 28 per cent respectively!
This is a truly breathtaking rate of collapse  clearly good times can disappear as quickly as
they arrive. By mid-2011, these falls had been largely reversed but as the eurozone crisis
unfolded prices seem to be moving downwards again. It remains to be seen where the euro-
zone crisis will ultimately end but if, as does not seem unlikely, Greece exits the Euro then
it is not inconceivable that the ensuing downward effects on industrial output in both the
eurozone and elsewhere may well generate price falls of a similar magnitude to those observed
in 2008.
It remains to be seen whether this order of increased volatility in the primary commodity
terms of trade, with all of the associated difficulties it raises for primary commodity dependent
LDCs, will become a feature of twenty-first century economic life.
I wonder what Adam Smith and David Ricardo would make of this!
Note
1 Previously known as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), although originally
named (by Keynes as the principal architect of the Bretton-Woods system) the International Trade
Organisation (ITO). See Chen and Sapsford (2005).
References
Chen, J. and Sapsford, D. (eds) (2005) Global Development and Poverty Reduction: The Challenge For Inter-
national Institutions , Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
Morgan, W. (2001) Commodity futures markets in LDCs: A review and prospects, Progress in Devel-
opment Studies 1(2): 13950.
Prebisch, R. (1950) The economic development of Latin America and its principal problem, UN
ECLA; also published in Economic Bulletin for Latin America 7(1) (1962): 122.
Ricardo, D. (1817) On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation , London: Penguin (reprinted 1971).
Sapsford, D. and Balasubramanyam, V. N. (1994) The long-run behavior of the relative price of
primary commodities: Statistical evidence and policy implications, World Development 22(11):
1737 45.
Sapsford, D., Bloch, H. and Pfaffenzeller, S. (2010) Commodities still in crisis? In M. Nissanke and
G. Mavrotas (eds), Commodities, Governance and Economic Development under Globalization , London:
Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 99115.
Singer, H. (1950) The distribution of gains between investing and borrowing countries, American
Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings 40: 47385.
Smith, A. (1776) The Wealth of Nations , London: Penguin (reprinted 1961).

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Enlightenment and the era of modernity
Toye, J. (2010) Commodities, cooperation and world economic development: The mission of Alfred
Maizels, 19962006. In M. Nissanke and G. Mavrotas (eds), Commodities, Governance and Economic
Development under Globalization , London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 317.
Further reading
Detailed discussion of both the theoretical arguments and statistical evidence underlying the declining
trend in terms of trade hypothesis can be found in the following:
Bloch, H. and Sapsford, D. (2011) Terms of trade movements and the global economic crisis, Interna-
tional Review of Applied Economics 25(5): 50317.
Sapsford, D. (2008) Terms of trade and economic development. In A. Dutt and J. Ros (eds), Interna-
tional Handbook of Development Economics , Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, pp. 1629.
Sapsford, D., Sarkar, P. and Singer, H. (1992) The PrebischSinger terms of trade controversy revisited,
Journal of International Development 4(3): 31532.
Singer, H. (1987) Terms of trade and economic development. In J. Eatwell, M. Milgate and P. Newman
(eds), The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics , London: Macmillan, pp. 6268.
Spraos, J. (1983) Inequalizing Trade? Oxford: Oxford University Press.
A comprehensive discussion of a wide range of issues relating to the relationship between economic
development and international trade may be found in the following:
Greenaway, D. (ed.) (1988) Economic Development and International Trade , London: Macmillan.
Highly accessible discussion of the main issues involved in the globalization debate, seen from either
side of the fence, can be found in the following two references:
Bhagwati, J. (2004) In Defense of Globalization , London: Oxford University Press.
Stiglitz, J. (2003) Globalization and its Discontents , London: Penguin Books.

2.

Enlightenment and

the era of modernity

Marcus Power
Introduction: The rough and tumble of early industrialism
Just as light cuts through darkness, the philosophy of the Enlightenment was seen as some-
thing that would open the eyes of the worlds poor and free them from unjust rule. The age
of Enlightenment is most often traced to the eighteenth century and represented a catalyst
for the development of particular styles of social thought in the form of a movement or a
programme in which reason was used in order to achieve freedom and progress, and during
which hostility to religion was omnipresent. In its simplest sense, the Enlightenment was the
creation of a new framework of ideas and secure truths about the relationships between
humanity, society and nature which sought to challenge traditional worldviews dominated

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96
Theories and strategies of development
by Christianity. Science, and the scientific approach, became the tool to investigate the
world, instead of theological dogmas. According to Gay (1973: 3), at this time educated
Europeans experienced an expansive sense of power over nature and themselves: the pitiless
cycles of epidemics, famines, risky life and early death, devastating war and uneasy peace 
the treadmill of human existence  seemed to be yielding at last to the application of critical
intelligence. Fear of change began to give way to fear of stagnation. It was a century of
commitment to enquiry and criticism, of a decline in mysticism, of growing hope and trust
in effort and innovation (Hampson, 1968). One of the primary interests was social reform,
and the progression and development of societies built around an increasing secularism and a
growing willingness to take risks (Gay, 1973).
There is no monolithic spirit of the age that can be discerned, however, and the Enlight-
enment does not represent a set of ideas which can be clearly demarcated, extracted and
presented as a list of essential definitions. There were, however, many common threads to
this patchwork of Enlightenment thinking: the primacy of reason/rationalism, a belief in
empiricism, the concept of universal science and reason, the idea of progress, the champion-
ing of new freedoms, the ethic of secularism and the notion of all human beings as essentially
the same (Hall and Gieben, 1992: 212). Thinkers such as Kant, Voltaire, Montesquieu,
Diderot, Hume, Smith, Ferguson, Rousseau and Condorcet found a receptive audience
for their new style of life (Hampson, 1968) producing a large collection of novels, plays,
books, pamphlets and essays for the consumption of nobles, professionals (especially lawyers),
academics and the clergy. New cultural innovations in writing, painting, printing, music,
sculpture and architecture, and new technological innovations in warfare, agriculture and
manufacture had a major impact on the philosophes , the free-thinking intellectuals or men
of letters that had brokered this enlightened awakening in France. The philosophes sought to
redefine what was considered as socially important knowledge, to bring it outside the
sphere of religion and to provide it with a new meaning and relevance. For Hall and Gieben
(1992: 36) four main areas distinguish the thought of the philosophes from earlier intellectual
approaches:
  • anti-clericalism;
  • a belief in the pre-eminence of empirical, materialist knowledge;
  • an enthusiasm for technological and medical progress;
  • a desire for legal and constitutional reform.
There is thus clearly a risk of applying the term the Enlightenment too loosely or too
widely, as if it had touched every intellectual society and every intellectual elite of this period
equally. The Enlightenment is thus best considered as an amorphous, dynamic and varie-
gated entity (Porter, 1990). More than simply a predominantly French movement centred
around a small group of philosophes , scholars have recently begun to consider the complex
spatiality of the Enlightenment as a cosmopolitan process, to view it in its international
context (where its key ideas and views were transmitted across borders) and thus to identify
a number of different Enlightenments. Reaching its climax in the mid-eighteenth century
in Paris and Scotland, but with foundations in many countries (including several outside of
Europe such as the USA), the Enlightenment was thus a sort of intellectual fashion or a
tendency towards critical inquiry and the application of reason (Black, 1990: 208) rather
than a singular coherent intellectual movement or institutional project. The philosophes of the
eighteenth-century Enlightenment in France, for example, did not act in concert and neither
should they be seen as a unified family for their views were too disparate (Porter, 1990).

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Enlightenment and the era of modernity
It is also important to remember that the new style of life championed by Enlightenment
intellectuals was in the main reserved for the fortunate and the articulate  the rural and
urban masses had little share. It was not until the eve of the French Revolution in the 1780s
that a new social group emerged concerned with popularizing Enlightenment ideas. Simi-
larly, though many women played a major part in the development and diffusion of Enlight-
enment ideas, applying such ideas to their social conditions meant negotiating a number of
contradictory positions within patriarchal societies. The emancipatory potential of this
knowledge thus turned out to be limited in that it was conceived of as abstract and utilitarian,
as a mastery over nature which thus becomes characterized by power. As Doherty (1993: 6)
has argued:
Knowledge is reduced to technology, a technology which enables the illusion of power
and of domination over nature. It is important to stress that this is an illusion. This kind
of knowledge does not give actual power over nature.... What it does give in the way
of power is, of course, a power over the consciousness of others who may be less f luent
in the language of reason.... Knowledge thus becomes caught up in a dialectic of
mastery and slavery.
(Emphasis in original)
The Enlightenment was also closely linked to the rise of modernity and provided an
important crucible for the invention of the modern idea of development which began
to emerge amidst the throes of early industrial capitalism in Europe (Cowen and Shenton,
1996: 5). The metaphor of the light of reason shining brightly into all the dark recesses of
ignorance and superstition in traditional societies was a powerful and inf luential one at this
time. In Europe, the light that the process of development brought was intended to con-
struct order out of the social disorders of rapid urban migration, poverty and unemployment
(Cowen and Shenton, 1996: 5). Many Enlightenment thinkers also viewed the remedy for the
disorder brought on by industrialization as related to the capacity to use land, labour and
capital in the interests of society as a whole. Only certain kinds of individuals could be
entrusted with such a role (Cowen and Shenton, 1996). Property, for example, needed to be
placed in the hands of trustees who would decide where and how societys resources could
be most effectively utilized. In eighteenth-century France, the prevailing social orders were
represented as three estates  clergy, nobility and the third estate, which comprised everyone
else, from wealthiest bourgeois to poorest peasant (Hall, 1992). This dialectic of mastery and
slavery and this gap between the philosophes (who were often members of the second estate)
and the peasantries of European eighteenth-century societies, are both important parts of the
historical context of Enlightenment thinking. Although they appeared to represent a threat to
the established order, these ideas and writings sought evolutionary rather than revolutionary
change, arguing that progress and development could come about within the existing social
order through the dissemination of ideas among men of inf luence (Hall and Gieben, 1992).
Modernity and the rise of the social sciences
The inf luential economist John Maynard Keynes (1936: 570), once wrote that practical men,
who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual inf luences, are usually the
slaves of some defunct economist. So it is with much development thinking today. A variety
of twentieth-century movements including neo-classicism (of which Keynes was an impor-
tant part) and liberalism can trace their origins back to the Enlightenment. The foundations

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Theories and strategies of development
of many modern disciplines (including development studies) were intimately bound up with
the Enlightenments concept of progress and the idea that development could be created
through the application of reasoned and empirically based knowledge. The Enlightenment
had forged the intellectual conditions in which the application of reason to practical issues
could f lourish through such modern institutions as the academy, the learned journal and the
conference. In turn, a modern audience was constituted for the dissemination of social and
political ideas alongside a class of intellectuals that could live from writing about them (Hall,
1992). Through the Enlightenment, state bureaucracies began to use social statistics to pro-
vide the evidence necessary for rational choices in the allocation of resources. This process
of labelling people was part of a wider intellectual paradigm that considered categorization,
quantification and measurement as integral to rational and objective decision-making. These
official labels were  and still are  generally portrayed and accepted as objective facts,
though many are rooted in intensely political processes. For example, many conventional
racial and group classifications were created in the imperial and colonial periods, when
authorities counted, categorized, taxed and deployed slave, servile and forced labour, often
over vast geographical areas (IDS, 2006: 1).
The emergence of an idea of the West was also important to the Enlightenment in that
it was a very European affair, which put Europe and European intellectuals at the very pin-
nacle of human achievement. This view sees the West as the result of forces largely internal
to Europes history and formation (Hall, 1992) rather than as a global story involving other
cultural worlds. In the making of nineteenth-century European modernity, Europeans had
a sense of difference from other worlds (e.g. Africa), which shaped the ways in which they
were viewed as distant, uncivilized and immature stages in the progress of humanity. The
establishment of modern modes of scientific enquiry, of modern institutions and the modern
development of societies in nineteenth-century Europe thus partly incorporated a contrast
with the savage and uncivilized spaces of the non-Western world. The emergence of area
studies disciplines in the twentieth century can also be traced back to Enlightenment efforts
to support theories of human progress by comparing Europe to other regions of the world
and in elaborating the contrast between Europe and other areas (Ludden, 2003). This tradi-
tion of universal comparison and ranking has also arguably continued to be a feature of
development thinking in the twenty-first century.
Modernist reason was not as inherently good as the enlightened thinkers believed and has
been used for a wide variety of purposes. Reason can be imperialist and racist (as in the mak-
ing of the idea of the West), taking a specific form of consciousness for a universal, a standard
that all must aspire to reach. Reason was also a potent weapon in the production of social
normativity during the Enlightenment, driving people towards conformity with a dominant
and centred norm of behaviour (Doherty, 1993). Modernist reason was therefore dependent
on the othering of non-conformists, of cultures and societies that were not informed by this
reason and social norms and were thus banished to the lower echelons of humanity, defined as
backward, undeveloped or uncivilized. The emergence of new ideas about social, political
and economic development was therefore bound up with these pressures to conform to par-
ticular notions of knowledge, reason and progress, and with the making of a Third Estate or
Third World of non-conformity as the alter ego of a developed West.
Conclusions: Completing the Enlightenment beyond Europe
Much contemporary development thinking has its roots in the Enlightenment as the age of
reason, which shaped concepts of progress, growth and social change. Modernist thought

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Enlightenment and the era of modernity
also envisaged a process of enlightenment, of becoming more modern and less traditional and
also saw a group of enlightened Western intellectuals and scientists guiding the paths to
progress of distant others. Arturo Escobar (1995: 24) has even argued that the post-1945
development project is the last and failed attempt to complete the Enlightenment in Asia,
Africa and Latin America (Escobar, 1995: 221). After 1945, modernization theorists in the
United States also saw their project as the Enlightenment writ large (Gilman, 2003: 8)
and even the vision of the modern developed under Soviet Communism (albeit with a very
different collectivist, anti-religious and anti-capitalist belief system) was similarly a prod-
uct of the Enlightenment. Development thus has complex roots in the emergence of the
Enlightenment, in the dawn of industrial capitalism in Europe and America and in the rise
and formation(s) of modernity. It is also important to remember that the self-identif ication
of European and Western countries as developed has partly been produced through a
contrasting of modernity with the tradition and backwardness of the Third World as
Other.
The work of Enlightenment thinkers like Adam Smith (with his free market economics)
remains very relevant to international development today for some observers. Examples of
this can be found in some of the key global development institutions like the World Bank,
that see their (neo-classical) knowledges as potentially enlightening. Consider the following
quotation from a speech given by the World Bank President James Wolfensohn in 1996:
Knowledge is like light. Weightless and intangible, it can easily travel the world, enlighten-
ing the lives of people everywhere. Yet billions of people still live in the darkness of poverty
  • unnecessarily (quoted in Patel, 2001: 2). Thus the knowledge and expertise of contemporary development practitioners is seen as something almost universal that easily traverses borders extinguishing the darkness of poverty wherever it shines. For some theorists and practitioners of development today, people and places can become developed simply though acquiring scientific and technical knowledge about the normal or correct series of developmental stages. If only it were that simple.
References
Black, J. (1990) Eighteenth-century Europe 17001789 , London: Macmillan.
Cowen, M. P. and Shenton, R. W. (1996) Doctrines of Development , London: Routledge.
Doherty, T. (1993) Postmodernism: An introduction, in T. Doherty (ed.), Modernism/Postmodernism ,
Hemel Hempstead, UK: Harvester Wheatsheaf, pp. 131.
Escobar, A. (1995) Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World , Princeton,
NJ: Princeton University Press.
Gay, P. (1973) The Enlightenment: A Comprehensive Anthology , New York: Simon and Schuster.
Gilman, N. (2003) Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America , Baltimore, MD:
Johns Hopkins University Press.
Hall, S. (1992) The West and the rest: Discourse and power, in S. Hall and B. Gieben (eds), Formations
of Modernity , Cambridge: Open University/Polity, pp. 275331.
Hall, S. and Gieben, B. (1992) Formations of Modernity , Cambridge: Open University/Polity.
Hampson, N. (1968) The Enlightenment , London: Penguin.
Institute of Development Studies (IDS) (2006) The power of labelling in development practice, IDS
Policy Briefing , 28 (April).
Keynes, J. M. (1936) The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money , London: Macmillan.
Ludden, D. (2003) Why area studies? in A. Mirsepassi, A. Basu and F. Weaver (eds), Localizing Knowl-
edge in a Globalizing World: Recasting the Area Studies Debate , New York: Syracuse University Press,
pp. 1317.
Patel, R. (2001) Knowledge, power, banking, Znet Magazine , 20 July.
Porter, R. (1990) The Enlightenment , London: Macmillan.

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Further reading
Cowen, M. P. and Shenton, R. W. (1996) Doctrines of Development , London: Routledge. Provides an
accessible discussion of enlightenment ideas, exploring their bearing on the construction of particular
development approaches and doctrines.
Doher t y, T. (1993) Postmoder nism: A n introduction, in T. Doher t y (ed.), Modernism/Postmodernism , Hemel
Hempstead, UK: Harvester Wheatsheaf, pp. 131. Offers clear and accessible definitions of modernism.
Hall, S. and Gieben, B. (1992) Formations of Modernity , Cambridge: Open University/Polity. Focuses on
the making of modernity in the non-Western world.
Rist, T. (1997) History of Development , London: Routledge. For an excellent introduction and overview
to early development discourses and ideas.

2.4

Dualistic and unilinear

concepts of development

Tony Binns
The development imperative
After the Second World War, Europe embarked on a massive programme of reconstruction,
instrumental to which was the Marshall Plan, launched by the US government on 5 June
  1. While the Marshall Plan was heralded as US financial help to the devastated economies and infrastructures of Western Europe, this goodwill gesture was also designed to stimulate markets for Americas burgeoning manufacturing sector. The Marshall Plan, which injected US$17 billion mainly into the UK, France, West Germany and Italy between 1948 and 1952, generated much confidence in the role of overseas economic aid (Hunt, 1989; Rapley, 1996). Another landmark in the recognition of the need for richer countries to play an active role in the development of poorer countries came less than two years later, on 20 January 1949, when US President Truman in Point Four of his Inaugural Address proclaimed:
we must embark on a bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific
advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underde-
veloped areas. More than half the people of the world are living in conditions approach-
ing misery. Their food is inadequate. They are victims of disease. Their economic life is
primitive and stagnant. Their poverty is a handicap and a threat both to them and to
more prosperous areas. For the first time in history, humanity possesses the knowledge
and skill to relieve the suffering of these people... I believe that we should make avail-
able to peace-loving peoples the benefits of our store of technical knowledge in order to
help them realize their aspirations for a better life.
(Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, 1964: 11415)

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101
Dualistic and unilinear concepts of development
Point Four probably inaugurated the development age and represents a minor masterpiece...
in that it puts forward a new way of conceiving international relations (Rist, 1997: 712).
The neo-classical paradigm
The so-called neo-classical paradigm dominated much thinking about development in the
two or three decades after the Second World War. Adam Smith, the founding father of the
classical school, writing in his Wealth of Nations (1776) in the early years of the Industrial
Revolution, saw manufacturing as capable of achieving greater increases in productivity than
agriculture. He emphasized the expansion of markets as an inducement for greater produc-
tivity which would, he believed, lead to greater labour specialization and productivity. A
century later in 1890, Alfred Marshall, in his inf luential book, Principles of Economics , spelt out
the neo-classical perspective, emphasizing the desirability of maximizing aggregate economic
welfare, whilst recognizing that this was dependent on maximizing the value of production
and raising labour productivity (Marshall, 1890). Technological change was recognized as
being vital to raising productivity and meeting the demands for food and raw materials
from a growing population. There was also a strong belief that free trade and the unimpeded
operation of the market were necessary for maximizing efficiency and economic welfare
(Hunt, 1989).
Dualism
Another theme that emerged in the post-war period was that underdeveloped economies were
characterized by a dichotomous or dualistic nature, where advanced and modern sectors of
the economy coexisted alongside traditional and backward sectors. A strong proponent of the
dualistic structure of underdeveloped economies was the West Indian economist Arthur
Lewis, whose seminal paper Economic development with unlimited supplies of labour was
published in 1954. Like others who followed him, Lewis did not differentiate between eco-
nomic growth and development. The paper, which significantly opens with the statement,
This essay is written in the classical tradition, envisages a division of the economic system
into two distinct sectors, the capitalist and the subsistence. The subsistence sector, according
to Lewis, consists predominantly of small-scale family agriculture and has a much lower per
capita output than the capitalist sector, where manufacturing industry and estate agriculture,
either private or state-owned, are important elements. The process of development, Lewis
suggested, involves an increase in the capitalists share of the national income due to growth
of the capitalist sector at the expense of the subsistence sector, with the ultimate goal of
absorption of the latter by the former. Since most labour for the capitalist sector would come
from underemployed labour in subsistence agriculture, changes within the latter sector were
seen as essential for the process of overall economic development.
The Lewis model had a significant inf luence on development thinking in the 1950s and
1960s, but it has been criticized for failing to appreciate the positive role of small-scale agri-
culture in the development process. With such agronomic successes as the Green Revolution,
it was realized that raising the productivity of the rural subsistence sector could actually be
an important objective rather than a constraint in development policy.
The concept of dualism is also apparent in some early spatial development models, focus-
ing on the different qualities and potential of contrasting regions, rather than economic
sectors as in the Lewis model. While some would argue that the development of certain areas
at the expense of others is likely to inhibit the growth of the economy as a whole, others

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Theories and strategies of development
regarded initial regional inequality as a prerequisite for eventual overall development. Both
Gunnar Myrdal and Albert Hirschman, for example, advocated strategies of unbalanced
growth. Myrdals cumulative causation principle (1957) suggested that once particular
regions have by virtue of some initial advantage moved ahead of others, new increments of
activity and growth will tend to be concentrated in already expanding regions because of
their derived advantages, rather than in other areas of the country. Thus, labour, capital and
commodities move to growing regions, setting up so-called backwash effects in the remain-
ing regions which may lose their skilled and enterprising workers and much of their locally
generated capital. However, Myrdal recognized that such less dynamic areas may benefit
from centrifugal spread effects, in that by stimulating demand in other, particularly neigh-
bouring regions, expansion in the growing areas may initiate economic growth elsewhere.
Hirschman (1958), working independently of Myrdal, followed similar thinking, propos-
ing a strategy of unbalanced growth, and suggesting that the development of one or more
regional centres of economic strength is essential for an economy to lift itself to higher
income levels. He envisaged spatial interaction between growing Northern and lagging
Southern regions in the shape of trickle-down and polarization effects, similar to Myrd-
als spread and backwash effects. Keeble (1967) argued that Hirschmans model,
far from assuming a cumulative causation mechanism, implies that if an imbalance
between regions resulting from the dominance of polarization effects develops during
earlier stages of growth, counter-balancing forces will in time come into operation to
restore the situation to an equilibrium position. Such forces, chief of which is govern-
ment economic policy, are not to be thought of as intensified trickling-down effects, but
as a new element in the model, arising only at a late stage in development. Their inclu-
sion, together with the exclusion of any cumulative mechanism, represents the models
chief structural differences from that of Myrdal.
(Keeble, 1967: 260)
A significant policy implication of Hirschmans unbalanced growth model is that govern-
ments should not necessarily intervene to reduce inequalities, since the inevitable search for
greater profits will lead to a spontaneous spin-off of growth-inducing industries to backward
regions (Potter et al ., 2008: 84).
The spatial models of Myrdal and Hirschman have strong parallels with the work of Franois
Perroux and other French economists in the 1940s and 1950s, who pointed out that growth did
not appear everywhere simultaneously, but instead is frequently located in a growth centre or
pole ( ple de croissance ). In essence, the growth centre model depicts the transmission of economic
prosperity from a centre, most commonly an urban-industrial area, as a result of the interplay of
spread and backwash effects. The model singles out crucial variables in the development of spa-
tial variation in economic prosperity within a region and specifies how they operate. A particu-
lar growth industry, such as motor manufacturing, is likely to attract other linked industries,
such as those which supply it w ith inputs and/or der ive their inputs from it. Other agg lomeration
economies may encourage further growth, whilst technological change is encouraged through
close proximity and interaction between the various industrial enterprises.
Unilinear models
Much post-war development thinking was strongly Eurocentric in that, often inappropriately,
theories and models [were] rooted in Western economic history and consequently structured

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103
Dualistic and unilinear concepts of development
by that unique, although historically important, experience (Hettne, 1995: 21). Walt Rostows
uni-linear model (1960; see Figure 2.4.1) is probably the best-known attempt to show how a
countrys economy and society progress through a series of stages, and is firmly based on the
Euro-American experience. It was undoubtedly the most inf luential modernization theory to
emerge in the early 1960s. It is interesting to note that Rostow entitled his book The Stages of
Economic Growth: A Non-communist Manifesto and, [his] perception of the purpose of the United
States promotion of economic development in the Third World was governed by a strongly
anti-communist stance (Hunt, 1989: 96). Indeed, early in his book Rostow asserts that he is
aiming to provide an alternative to Karl Marxs theory of modern history (Rostow, 1960: 2).
The key element in Rostows thinking was the process of capital formation, represented by five
stages through which all countries pass in the process of economic growth.

– Stage 1 , Traditional society : Characterized by primitive technology, hierarchical social structures, production and trade based on custom and barter, as in pre-seventeenth- century Britain. – Stage 2 , Preconditions for take-off : With improved technology and transport, increased trade and investment, economically based elites and more centralized national states gradually emerged. Economic progress was assisted by education, entrepreneurship and institutions capable of mobilizing capital. Often traditional society persisted side by side with modern economic activities, as in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain, when the so-called agricultural revolution and world exploration (leading to increased trade) were gaining momentum. While the preconditions for take-off were actually endogenous in Britain, elsewhere they were probably the result of external intrusion by more advanced societies (Rostow, 1960: 6). – Stage 3 , Take- of f : The most important stage, covering a few decades, when the last ob- stacles to economic growth are removed. Take-off is characterized by rapid economic growth, more sophisticated technology and considerable investment, particularly in man-

Decades
5
The age of
high mass
consumption
4 The driveto maturity
3 Take-off
2
The
preconditions
for take-off
1
The
traditional
society
Figure 2.4.1 Rostows unilinear model

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104
Theories and strategies of development
ufacturing industry. The share of net investment and saving in national income rise from
5 per cent to 10 per cent or more, resulting in a process of industrialization, as in early
nineteenth-century Britain. Agriculture becomes increasingly commercialized and more
productive with increasing demand from growing urban centres.

– Stage 4 , Drive to maturity : A period of self-sustaining growth, with increasing investment of between 10 and 20 per cent of national income. Technology becomes more sophisti- cated, there is greater diversification in the industrial and agricultural sectors and falling imports, as in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain. – Stage 5 , Age of high mass consumption : The final stage, characterized by the increasing importance of consumer goods and services, and the rise of the welfare state. In Britain and Western Europe, this stage was not reached until after the Second World War (post- 1945), but in the USA mass production and consumption of consumer goods, such as cars, fridges and washing machines, came earlier, during the 1920s and 1930s.

Despite its considerable inf luence on development planning at the time, Rostows model
has been strongly criticized for a number of reasons. First, it is a unilinear model, implying
that things get better over time, which is by no means always true as, for example, the expe-
rience of many sub-Saharan African countries indicates. Increases in per capita income have
scarcely kept pace with world trends and the HIV/AIDS pandemic has had a devastating
effect on mortality and life expectancy rates. Most sub-Saharan African countries are rela-
tively worse off in the early twenty-first century than in the 1960s when many gained their
independence. Second, it is a Eurocentric model, suggesting that all countries will imitate
the experience of Europe and America. It is quite inappropriate to apply such a model to
countries which have been subjected to colonial rule and whose economies and societies have
been manipulated to serve the demand for agricultural and mineral resources from the grow-
ing manufacturing sectors in the metropolitan countries. Third, the model suggests that all
countries progress through these stages in the same sequence as happened in Europe and
North America. But in some developing countries the sequence of events has not been so
straightforward, with rapid change, for example, in the agricultural, industrial and service
sectors happening at the same time, rather than sequentially. Whilst modern consumer
goods, schools and hospitals, may be present in towns and cities, in remote rural areas these
facilities are frequently absent, and poor farmers still use simple technology to produce food
for their families. Finally, it is often wrongly seen as a development model, whereas it is
actually an economic growth model. Rostow was concerned more with economic progress
and increasing industrial investment, rather than human welfare and other non-economic
indicators of development. Some countries have experienced periods of rapid economic
growth, yet much of the population has felt little benefit from this  what might be called
growth without development (Binns, 1994; Binns et al ., 2012). The real significance of the
Rostow model was that it seemed to offer every country an equal chance to develop.
From dualism to basic needs
The lack of distinction and explanation drawn by Rostow and others between the processes
of growth and development led some writers to try to clarify the situation. There was also
growing concern that economic growth, which had been the main preoccupation of Lewis,
Hirschman, Myrdal and Rostow, did not necessarily eliminate poverty, and that the so-called
trickle-down effects of growth generally failed to benefit the poor in both spatial and social
terms. Dudley Seers provided much-needed clarification on the meaning of development,

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Dualistic and unilinear concepts of development
suggesting that poverty, unemployment and inequality should be key foci in the development
debate and that there should be greater concern for the fulfilment of basic needs (notably food,
health and education) through the development process (Seers, 1969, 1972). The basic needs
approach gained momentum in the mid-1970s. The International Labour Organizations 1976
conference on World Employment adopted the Declaration of Principles and Programme of
Action for a Basic Needs Strategy of Development, highlighting poverty alleviation as a key
objective for all countries in the period up to the year 2000. Possibly the main weakness of the
basic needs strategy was its top-down approach, which made it vulnerable to changing fash-
ions in the international aid bureaucracy (Hettne, 1995: 180). In spite of such limitations, the
debates surrounding the meaning and process of development and the question of basic needs
d id much to move development th in k ing and pol ic y away f rom earl ier dua l ist ic, un i l inear, and
essentially Eurocentric, approaches of the 1950s and 1960s.
Bibliography
Binns, T. (1994) Tropical Africa , London: Routledge.
Binns, T., Dixon, A. and Nel. E. L. (2012) Africa: Diversity and Development , London: Routledge.
Hettne, B. (1995) Development Theory and the Three Worlds: Towards an International Political Economy of
Development , London: Longman.
Hirschman, A. O. (1958) The Strategy of Economic Development , New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Hunt, D. (1989) Economic Theories of Development , London: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
Keeble, D. E. (1967) Models of economic development, in R. J. Chorley and P. Haggett (eds)
Socio-economic Models in Geography , London: Methuen, pp. 243305.
Lewis, W. A. (1954) Economic development with unlimited supplies of labour, The Manchester School
of Economic and Social Studies 22(2), May; reprinted in A. Agarwala and S. Singh (eds) (1958) The
Economics of Underdevelopment , Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 40049.
Marshall, A. (1890) Principles of Economics (8th edn), London: Macmillan (reprinted 1920).
Myrdal, G. (1957) Economic Theory and Underdeveloped Regions , London: Duckworth.
Potter, R. B., Binns, T., Elliott, J. A. and Smith, D. (2008) Geographies of Development , London:
Pearson.
Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States (1964) Harry S. Truman, Year 1949 , 5, Washington
DC: United States Government Printing Office.
Rapley, J. (1996) Understanding Development: Theory and Practice in the Third World , London: UCL
Press.
Rist, G. (1997) The History of Development , London: Zed Books.
Rostow, W. (1960) The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-communist Manifesto , Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Seers, D. (1969) The meaning of development, International Development Review 11(4): 2  6.
Seers, D. (1972) What are we trying to measure? Journal of Development Studies 8(3): 2136.
Smith, A. (1776) The Wealth of Nations (2 vols), London: Methuen (reprinted 1961).
Willis, K. (2011) Theories and Practices of Development , London: Routledge.
Further reading
For detailed consideration of development theory, see Hettne (1995) and Hunt (1989).
Keebles chapter (1967) in Chorley and Haggetts Socio-economic Models in Geography , though
written over 30 years ago, is still helpful. A more recently written overview is provided in
Chapter 3 of Potter et al .s Geographies of Development (2008). Hirschman (1958), Lewis (1954),
Rostow (1960) and Smith (1961) are justifiably regarded as classic texts, whilst Alfred Mar-
shalls Principles of Economics was a key undergraduate textbook for over 50 years. Willis (2011)
provides a useful introduction to theory and practice in development. Binns et al. (2012)
consider various aspects of development theory and practice in the context of Africa.

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2.5

Neoliberalism

Globalizations neoconservative

enforcer of austerity

Dennis Conway
Following the global recession of 19781983, a concerted, long-term and highly effective
ideological effort on the part of identifiable actors (George 1999: 1) which we now call
neoliberalism , brought about a dramatic turn away from Keynesian economic thinking and
political-economic practices just about everywhere in the globalizing world (Conway and
Heynen 2006). Harvey (2005: 3) succinctly depicts the pervasiveness of its ascendency:
Deregulation, privatization, and the withdrawal of the state from many areas of social
provision have been all too common. Almost all states, from those newly minted after
the collapse of the Soviet Union to old-style social democracies and welfare states such
as New Zealand and Sweden, have embraced, sometimes voluntarily and in other
instances in response to coercive pressures, some version of neoliberal theory and
adjusted at least some policies and practices accordingly... Neoliberalism has, in short,
become hegemonic as a mode of discourse.
More severe in his condemnation, Bourdieu (1998) ridicules neoliberalism as a free mar-
ket system built upon the structural violence of unemployment, of the insecurity of job tenure
and the menace of the lay-off. A new global class of privileged elites  characterized in con-
temporary American political discourse as the 1%, have been the projects beneficiaries
these past thirty years or so. Furthermore, this global political-economic right-wing, or
conservative project has not only perpetuated previous inequalities, but exacerbated the
global divide. To Conway and Heynen (2006: 20), the poor and new poor of the peripheral
global South are being made to suffer through another round of the same bitter medicine
they suffered under colonialism and postcolonialism; namely a neoliberal modernization
version of the dependistas development of underdevelopment. They assess neoliberalisms
destructive, disciplinary assault this way:
The common collective interest and the public good has been negotiated away by ideo-
logical, political, social and economic power-plays, which privilege individual accumu-
lation and self-interest among internal elites over communal obligation and societal
responsibility for ones fellow human beings; neighbors, citizens, guests, alike.
The global majority (labor and dependents together), at the same time, are being duped,
co-opted and coerced by the power and persuasion of neoliberalisms theological message

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Neoliberalism
that the Market is God (Cox 1999). And George (1999: 23) insightfully depicted neolib-
eralisms ascendency:
[T]he neoliberals and their funders have created a huge international network of foun-
dations, institutes, research centers, publications, scholars, writers and public relations
hacks to develop, package and push their ideas and doctrine relentlessly...
So, from a small, unpopular sect with virtually no inf luence, neoliberalism has become
the major world religion with its dogmatic doctrine, its priesthood, its law-giving insti-
tutions and perhaps most important of all, its hell for heathen and sinners who dare to
contest the revealed truth.
Summarizing this economic instigator and partner to contemporary globalization,
neoliberalism is essentially about making trade between nations easier for the most power-
ful. It is all about the free movement of goods, commodities, resources, and commer-
cial enterprises so that cheaper resources can be accessed to maximize profits and efficiency.
To help accomplish this, neoliberalism requires the removal of various controls deemed
as barriers to free trade, such as tariffs, regulations, certain standards, laws, legislation, and
regulatory measures. Most importantly, it requires the removal of restrictions on capital
f lows and investment across national boundaries, so that global South markets and
resource stocks can be respectively penetrated and exploited by global North capitalist cor-
porations, or transnational corporations either independently of their client-nations, or in
partnership with them. And, the major theological faith of neoliberalism advocates the
following:
  • The rule of the market freedom for capital, goods, and services, where the market is self-regulating allowing the trickle down notion of wealth distribution. It also in- cludes the de-unionizing of labor forces and removals of any impediments to capital mobility, such as regulations. The freedom is from the state, or government.
  • Reducing public expenditure for social services, such as health and education, by the government.
  • Deregulation, to allow market forces to act as a self-regulating mechanism.
  • Privatization of public goods, resources and services (ranging from water, power, trans- portation to information dissemination and exchange, internet-use, communication).
  • Changing perceptions of public and community good to individualism and individual responsibility.
Neoliberalisms ascendency
English economist, Adam Smiths 1776 Wealth of Nations text was the exemplary benchmark
of the first liberal economic model, which promoted a free market ideology with no gov-
ernment restrictions on manufacturing production and no tariff barriers to trade and com-
merce. Government intervention in economic matters should be supportive of such
commercial entrepreneurialism, not regulatory. And, imperial Great Britain certainly prac-
ticed this economic liberalism to great effect, as it expanded its global reach beyond its colo-
nies into Latin America, East Asia, and beyond.
The 1930s Great Depression, however, exposed this ideological models shortcomings, so
that in accordance with the structural prerogatives such a crisis in capitalism brings, a new
national economic orthodoxy would come to the fore, labeled Keynesianism after its

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Theories and strategies of development
economic author, John Maynard Keynes. Accordingly, during the post-World War II long
wave of advanced capitalism  from the 1950s to the 1970s  Keynesianism, in contrast to
liberalism, was the dominant economic orthodoxy. It mandated a much more central role for
government (and central bank) intervention and involvement, and furthermore argued that
full-employment was necessary for capitalism to grow and for people to prosper. The belief
that the government should intervene where the private market was loathed to go, subsidize
capital, provide public welfare services and support a social safety net for the citizenry at
large, was a dramatic pendulum swing in economic thinking and practice. Both in advanced
capitalist nations of the global North  Europe, Japan, and North America and in these core
countries global South peripheries  colonies and postcolonial dependencies  these
state-interventionist and regulatory ideas greatly inf luenced political and economic agendas
during the post-World War II period of advanced capitalism from the 1950s to the end of
the 1970s.
At the same time, and predictably, this social-democratic model of advanced capitalism
experienced its own economic contradictions, structural limitations and resultant financial
crises in which galloping inf lation was targeted as a main reason for the recessional crisis
of the late 1970s and thereby precipitated its fall from grace. International events and inter-
national affairs starting in the early 1970s brought this long waves crisis to a head and helped
precipitate its recessional conclusion. There was the unraveling of the 1948 Bretton-Woods
currency agreement of fixed exchange rates when, in response to the burgeoning trading of
Euro-dollars, President Nixon took the US dollar off the gold standard in 1971 and major
currencies became speculative commodities. In the major core countries of the global North,
inf lationary pressures, government overspending, high taxation rates, continued high mili-
tar y budgets, and genera l downtur ns in consumer conf idence were some of the main features
of this long waves stagnation. Keynesianism  especially its mandate for widespread state
intervention in economic matters  was discredited. Finally, two OPEC-driven oil price
hikes in 19741975 and again in 19781979 effectively raised the price of a barrel of oil
eight-fold, dramatically raising energy costs, and contributing to widespread indebtedness,
particularly in developing countries of the global South.
Neoliberal institutions answers to indebtedness austerity
As agents of neoliberalism from their inception, the IMF and the World Bank have been
the stalwart enforcers of neoliberal policies of austerity and fiscal servitude; notably their
Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) and more recently their Poverty Reduction Programs.
Immediate implementation of stabilization measures to reduce public spending, remove
subsidies on basic foods and other local commodities, reduce the governments wage bill,
plus devaluations of local currencies were IMF-imposed austerity measures. In addition,
there should be a phased-in implementation of economic adjustment measures to open
markets, remove tariffs and barriers, even bring about tax reductions for the local elites
to encourage their entrepreneurialism. The World Bank and its development look-
alikes  the regional development banks, Asian Development Bank, Inter-American
Development Bank  added their institutional might through their conditionalities for
development loans, so that these financial giants did their part in this pact with the neo-
liberal devil, and continued to promote the opening up of countries to more free trade
and corporate penetration.
Accordingly, from 1979/1980 onwards, supply side economics solutions to economic
recovery  Reaganomics and Thatcherism, for example  were offered as alternatives to

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109
Neoliberalism
combat inflation, reduce government overspending, reduce public sector workforces, and
roll back wages. Neoliberalism was to be the way forward. In Britain, Prime Minister Mar-
garet Thatcher would jubilantly trumpet her convincing acronym, TINA, or  T here I s N o
A lternative, in defense of her governments conservative economic policies and privatiza-
tion plans. In the United States, Ronald Reagans succession to the Presidency in 1981 also
signaled the ascension of his brand of pragmatic conservatism and Washingtons ideological
right-turn away from Keynesianism and its state-intervention practices.
Neoliberalism as an ideological, right-wing discourse and narrative and as an unchal-
lenged model of economic efficiency and capitalist enterprise prevailed through the 1980s
and into the 1990s, as the era of neoliberal globalization appeared to have no end. Blind faith
in the market was preached with a religious fervor that resonated well in the United States
(Cox 1999). In this now sole-remaining Super Power (with the geopolitical demise of the
USSR and its break-up), the Clinton administrations embracing of neoliberalism appeared
to be a resounding political-economic success. The 1990s, for many in the US, were rela-
tively promising. Credit and mortgages were too easy to acquire from a now de-regulated
banking sector, and economic expansion in many productive sectors received the benefits of
technological innovations and logistics development as the IT era brought computer technol-
ogy into the reach of everyone but the impoverished. Mislead by superficial appearances of
consumer-oriented largesse and easy credit, a culture of contentment appeared to embrace
American society (Galbraith 1992). Forgotten in the mix, was the widening income inequal-
ity between the top 5 percent and the bottom half of the working population, including the
youthful middle classes growing disillusionment with ever achieving the American Dream
in the US. Between 1992 and 2007 (during Presidents Clinton and Bushs administrations)
the real income of the bottom 90 percent of US families rose by 13 percent, while for the top
400 families it rose by 399 percent during the same period. As evidence, the total income of
the top 400 families  the investor class grew close to $140 billion in 2007  the crest of
this latest neoliberal capitalist long wave.
The Great Recession of 20082012: Neoliberal capitalisms bust
The largely unforeseen end of this neoliberal capitalist long wave would then prove the
overly optimistic pundits wrong, as the housing bubble burst in America leading the rest of
the globalizing world into a major, precipitous economic downturn, not seen (or experi-
enced) since the 1930s Great Depression (Stiglitz 2010). Though the collapse of Lehman
Brothers in September 2008 turned out to be the bellwether event that heralded the crisis,
warning signs had been around since the summer of 2007. There were large current deficits
in the US, UK, and many European economies  PIIGS (Portugal, Italy Ireland, Greece, and
Spain)  being financed by the excess savings of emerging economies in the global South and
oil producers (demonstrating an unsustainable global current-account imbalance). Monetary
policy had been loosened, most notably in the US in the wake of that nations mild downturn
in 2001. And, by the time the crisis occurred in late 2007, there was an overall dearth of
financial regulation accountability and oversight of financial institutions speculative prac-
tices, fund managements, and derivative transactions. Careful, financial risk-taking had
given ground to searches for yields and high-risk ventures, so that when US housing prices
dropped nationally, this rapidly deteriorating situation in such a pivotal sector of the economy
exposed liquidity, generated sub-prime loan defaults, caused credit markets to freeze and
uncovered the extent of the global dispersal of derivative loans, so that the global financial
system caved in soon thereafter (Verick 2010).

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Theories and strategies of development
Concluding cautions neoliberalisms tenacity
Driven aggressively by US geopolitical expediency and leadership as an American project
to foster globalization (Agnew 2005), there has been an extensive refashioning of the US and
global regulatory regimes such that the international mobility of finance capital is still by and
large unfettered. The exponential expansion of the resultant dysfunctional global financial-
credit economy has created debt peonage within advanced capitalist countries and mounting
debt burdens internationally. International debt combined with absence of capital controls
accentuated boom and bust cycles of debtor countries, such that recurrent international debt
crises have occurred often, and are still with us today (Verick 2010).
Viewing the 20082012 global crisis and its aftermath from a progressive perspective,
Peck et al. (2012) find neoliberalism has survived this near-death experience, and some of
its new strains seem even more aggressive. These progressive critics of neoliberalisms reac-
tionary record of recurrent crises and structural re-organization prior to 2007, then pose two
cautionary questions (Peck et al. 2012: 267):
But what if the enduring contradictions of neoliberalism have, rather perversely, become
drivers of this rolling program, which increasingly takes the form of an evolving pattern
of (crisis-driven and crisis-exploiting) reregulation  at the same time reactively oppor-
tunistic and proactively experimental? What if the vulnerabilities and limits of neolib-
eralism ultimately account for its long-term tenacity as a regulatory (dis)order?
It appears that progressive alternatives to neoliberalism will be a hard sell in todays
geopolitical discourses that have been ideologically created and distorted by several decades
of cumulatively entrenched neoliberalization. Still trumpeting neoliberalisms suitability as
TINA, a largely uncontested bundle of pro-market and pro-corporate rationalities of
soft capitalism has become deeply intermixed with resilient re-formulations of social,
corporate-financial, and state power (Conway 2012; Peck et al. 2012), that brook no oppo-
sition. Harveys (2005: 3) view of neoliberalisms devastating structural power as creative
destruction of everything from prior institutional powers, divisions of labor, welfare pro-
visions, ways of life and thought, reproductive activities, attachments to land and habits of the
heart has turned out to be prophetic, unfortunately. Austerity for the impoverished majority
at the bottom of the global divide appears to be the price to pay to ensure that the financial
interests of the top 1 percent  the investor classes, neoconservatives, neoliberal corporate
elites and their acolytes  remain favored in geo-economic and geopolitical negotiations
about global futures.
Bibliography
Agnew, J. (2005) Hegemony: The New Shape of Global Power , Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
Bourdieu, P. (1998) The essence of neoliberalism, Le Monde Diplomatique , December.
Conway, D. (2012) Neoliberalism and globalization. In R. Potter, D. Conway, R. Evans, and S.
Lloyd-Evans (eds) Key Concepts in Development Geography , London: Sage, pp. 8291.
Conway, D. and Heynen, N. (2006) Globalizations Contradictions: Geographies of Discipline, Destruction
and Transformation , New York: Routledge, pp. 1734.
Cox, H. (1999) The market as god: Living in the new dispensation, Atlantic Monthly , March: 1823.
Galbraith, J. K. (1992) The Culture of Contentment , Boston: Houghton Miff lin.
George, S. (1999) A Short History of Neoliberalism. Paper presented at the Conference on Economic
Sovereignty in a Globalising World, March 2426: Global Policy Forum; available online at http://www.
globalexchange.org/resources/econ101/neoliberalismhist.

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Dependency theories
Hardt, M. (2004) Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire , New York: Penguin Press.
Harvey, D. (2005) A Brief History of Neoliberalism , Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mahmud, T. (2011) Is it Greek or dj vu all over again? Neoliberalism and winners and losers of
international debt crises, Loyola University Chicago Law Journal , 42: 630712.
New American Century Report (2000) Rebuilding Americas Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a
New Century , Washington, DC: Project for the New American Century.
Peck, J., Theodore, N., and Brenner, N. (2012) Neoliberalism resurgent? Market rule after the Great
Recession, The South Atlantic Quarterly , 111(2): 265 288.
Stiglitz, J. E. (2010) Free Fall: America, Free Markets and the Sinking of the World Economy , New York:
W. W. No r t on.
Verick, S. (2010) The Great Recession of 20082009: Causes, Consequences and Policy Responses , Bonn,
Germany: Institute for the Study of Labor IZA; Discussion Paper, No. 4934, May.

2.6

Dependency theories

From ECLA to Andre Gunder

Frank and beyond

Dennis Conway and Nikolas Heynen
Dependency Theory , more than a theoretical construct, is a way of understanding historically
embedded, political-economic relations of peripheral capitalist countries, especially Latin
American countries, within the broader context of the global economy. It is, essentially, a
critique of the development paths, policies, and strategies followed in Latin America and else-
where in the peripheral global South. Dependency Theory emerged as a critical lens through
which the history of Latin American development, marginalized as it was by Western
hegemony, could be better understood; the development of underdevelopment, no less. The
initial theorization was a structuralist perspective by economists who were associated with the
United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA). This was soon trans-
formed, and informed, by more critical dependency notions and the spread of Marxist and
neo-Marxist critiques of imperialism (Chilcote 1984).
Perhaps, one of Dependency Theorys most important characteristics is that it was a product
of Latin American scholarship (much of it written in Spanish) rather than Western or North
American/European scholars. These authorities theorized on the Latin American condition
as insiders, as erstwhile, often passionate native sons. This gave rise to a more informed,
and more involved, appreciation of the reasons for Latin American underdevelopment as
Dependista s dealt with the context of various countries specific national circumstances, and
theorized about Latin Americas structures of social organization and localized behaviors.

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More widely, it was the publication of the writings of Andre Gunder Frank (and the collec-
tion and translation of other Latin American original contributions by North American Latin
Americanists) that brought the Dependency Schools ideas to the notice of North American and
European development studies.
Prior to World War II, Latin American countries economic strategies primarily revolved
around a development path based on the export of natural resources and primary commodi-
ties to core countries. Many, including Argentinian Ral Prebisch, Brazilians Paul Singer
and Celso Furtado, and Chilean Osvaldo Sunkel, felt that Latin Americas historical margin-
alization and resultant underdevelopment were perpetuated by such unequal commercial
arrangements. While free-market notions of comparative advantage might suggest Latin
America should benefit from providing their primary goods to the industrialized countries,
Prebisch (1950) posited there were short-term f luctuations in the terms of trade in Latin
American countries, deteriorations in the long-term and improved terms of trade in the
advanced countries. Such structuralist assessments had core countries, particularly Britain and
the United States, benefitting at Latin Americas expense.
Consequently, Prebisch and other ECLA structuralists felt that major structural changes in
development policy were needed to improve Latin Americas economic situation. They pro-
posed structural changes which favored switching to more domestic production under tariff
protection as a means of replacing industrial imports. In line with this strategy, capital goods,
intermediate products, and energy would be purchased with national income revenues from
primary exports, and technology transfer would be negotiated with transnational corpora-
tions. This development strategy  often referred to as import-substitution industrialization
(ISI)  became widely practiced throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Third
World/global South in general.
Although the ECLA structuralist analyses recognized some of the problems underlying
Latin American underdevelopment, the proposed import-substitution industrialization (ISI)
remedies brought other, more problematic, forms of dependency. Multinational and transna-
tional corporate power and authority over technology transfer and capital investment
emerged as a new form of neo-colonial dependency. Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1973)
pointed this out in his assessments of power and authority in Brazil, and he preferred to char-
acterize the situation in such peripheral economies as associated dependent development. Indeed,
Cardoso felt that the dependent capitalist process of industry-by-invitation occurred
mostly under authoritarian regimes, and further, that state policies would favor multinational
capital at the expense of labor.
Prebischs identification of coreperiphery relations as the global historical heritage
behind unequal development meant Latin America continued to face a formidable structural
reality. Imperialism and colonialism were to be challenged more rigorously. Capitalism, or
more specifically peripheral capitalism, was not the answer for Latin American development.
Accordingly, alternative critical commentary, more deeply rooted within Marxist and
neo-Marxist ideologies, emerged to better explain Latin Americas subordinate place within
the global economy and to better understand the processes that led to such exploitive and
dependent relations. ECLA structuralism was recast in dependencia terms.
Barans inf luential (1957) Political Economy of Growth described the reasons for Latin
Americas underdevelopment within a Marxist framework as being a consequence of advanced
nations forming special partnerships with powerful elite classes in less developed or pre-
capitalist countries of the global South. Such alliances were of course detrimental to the
capitalist development of such backward economies since they benefitted the minority
class of Latin American elites rather than advancing economic development at large. Such

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Dependency theories
partnerships, according to Baran, perpetuated the ability of core countries to maintain tra-
ditional systems of surplus extraction, thereby making domestic resources continuously avail-
able to them, and making the economic development of Latin American countries unlikely,
since any surplus generated was appropriated by the elites. Thus, the imperial core countries
would keep Latin America subordinate, and maintain their monopoly power, to ensure a
steady outf low of cheap primary resources.
Andre Gunder Frank further developed Barans ideas, by focusing upon the dependent
character of peripheral Latin American economies. In Franks (1966) prognosis, the devel-
opment of underdevelopment was the concept which best characterized the capitalist
dynamics that both developed the core countries and at the same time caused greater levels
of underdevelopment and dependency within Latin American countries. Frank used this
conceptual framework to explain the dualistic capitalist relations that had occurred, and
which he felt would continue to occur between Latin American and core counties, as a result
of the continued domination of these core countries in Latin America.
Although there was a popular perception that Third World countries regained some sense
of self-determination following decolonization, Frank argued this was a fallacy. Exploitation
of many Third World/global South countries by colonial and neo-colonial core countries
intensified following their achievement of political independence, further contributing to
greater unequal relations. Thus, given the class-based stratification of Latin American soci-
ety, which Baran blamed for the development of ties between Latin American elites and
capitalist and political leaders from core countries, revolutionary action to remove such elites
from power would be needed to forge a reformulation of international capitalist relations.
Frank (1979) suggested this was only possible through revolutionary action which strove to
install socialist ideals within the political systems of the dependent countries.
Besides arguing that the dependent coreperiphery relationship was best articulated at the
national scale, Frank also posited that a similar metropolis-satellite relationship occurred at
smaller (regional) scales. In particular, he described similar dependent circumstances occur-
ring between cities in Latin American countries and colonies and their non-urban peripheries.
He illustrates this relationship within the context of the privilege that has always existed for
colonial Latin American cities. As the place of administration for colonial powers, the city has
always been the power-base from which the expansion of capitalism has spread. Within this
more localized scenario, the city and its peripheral hinterland becomes increasingly polarized
as a result of the capitalist relations between them, namely the metropolis exploiting its satel-
lites. Given the localized nature of this relationship, dense networks of metropolis-satellite
combinations form what Frank referred to as constellations across national space.
As an explanation for Latin Americas peripheral position in terms of modern versus tra-
ditional structures, Frank contended that this dualist perspective failed to truly comprehend
the historical significance and transformative impact of capitalisms penetration of the conti-
nents economic, political, and social structures. However, the dependent relationship Frank
posited as a counter explanation to such dualist notions drew sharp criticism from many.
Laclaus (1971) analysis is perhaps the most notable.
Laclau asserted that Franks analytical method has significant shortcomings because it was
based on an erroneous characterization of Marxs notion of modes of production. Instead of
basing the construction of a mode of production on social or class relations, as Marx did,
Laclau claims that Franks reliance on market relations as the defining quality of the processes
under which production occurs is inherently f lawed. As a consequence, Laclau faults Frank
for constructing a circular concept of capitalism which is inherently imbalanced. Laclau con-
cludes that as a result of the f lawed interpretation of the mode of production, Franks analysis

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Theories and strategies of development
offers little more than an account of a history that is well reported; in effect, he contributes
nothing to theoretical explanation in terms of determining conditions.
The resultant tensions within Franks analytical framework as a result of arguably incor-
rect, or less than accurate, usage of Marxist ideology, led the way to other neo-Marxist
investigations of the linkages and possible reconciliation between Dependency Theory and
Marxism. Seeking to resolve the debate, Chilcote (1984) effectively situated the various
capitalist and socialist approaches to the development of underdevelopment  structuralism ,
dependencia , internal colonialism , neo-Marxism , even Trot sk yi sm  as a full set of alternative the-
ories and perspectives on development and underdevelopment. He also found a place for
Wallersteins more worldly focus in this collection of alternatives.
Indeed, Wallerstein (1974, 1980) adapted dependency notions to comment on the com-
mercial relations between the core countries and Latin America, and examined world histo-
riography in terms of the dominant and subordinate relations that successive emerging cores,
their peripheries, and semi-peripheries experienced. This account started with the long
sixteenth century, passing through successive eras of capitalism to the present neoliberal era
of globalization (the post-1980s). Wallersteins World Systems Theory complements and
expands upon Franks ideas, providing a more comprehensive global stage appropriate for
understanding the wider reach and more diverse spatial realignments of commercial capital-
ist relat ions in contempora r y t i mes. More recent world system s ex pla nat ions of geopol it ica l
eras detail the transformations of the worlds hegemonic relationships of coreperiphery
relationships to the present global era that continues into the second decade of the twenty-
first century (Conway and Heynen 2006). Amin (2003) also offers a much more critical view
of contemporary geopolitical times than Wallerstein.
Ghosh (2001) further provided a contemporary critical appraisal and overview of contem-
porary thoughts on the full set of alternative dependency theories, pointing out the signifi-
cant inter-temporal paradigm shifts in the theorys wider application in our rapidly
globalizing world. As Ghosh (2001: 133) reminds us:
There are indeed many issues and areas of development where dependency plays a major
role. Some of these are; aid dependency, technological dependency, dependency for
foreign capital investment, trade dependency, dependency for better human capital for-
mation and so forth.
There are obvious connections between the divergent trajectories of capitalisms expan-
sion in the global North as opposed to the global South. Equally obvious, unequal compe-
tition remains an extremely powerful, dependency relationship in globalizations
transformative, disciplinary, and destructive inf luences (Conway and Heynen 2006). Just as
the imperialism of old imposed colonialism fostered dependency and underdevelopment,
modern globalization of the post-1980s has several salient features that are de facto, neolib-
eral successors to these imperial mechanisms. They represent: (a) a programme of binding
individuals, institutions, and nations into a common set of market relationships; (b) a calcu-
lated economic strategy of the capitalist economies, corporations, and international financial
institutional systems to encourage and stimulate capitalist growth for winners  core and
emerging markets  not the losers with no comparative advantages, weak or failed states,
or the corruption-weakened; and (c) a means of extracting surplus through the exploitation
of cheap labor, high quality manpower, and resources of the global South (Ghosh 2001: 158).
Dependency thinking has come a long way since its initial Latin American interpreta-
tions, but even in todays globalizing world the geopolitical and geo-economic struggles

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Dependency theories
underway in Latin America are anything but predictable, and can no longer be so easily
framed in the centuries-old structural terms of core US hegemony and Latin American
dependency. The evolving world system of coreperiphery relationships has entered a new
advanced phase of modernity in which there are new dependency relationships, ecological
uncertainty, rapid technological change, and a multiplicity of cross-cutting f lows of informa-
tion, cultural messages, and knowledge exchange. They occur at multiple scales and scopes
of inf luential power and authority  ranging from the global to the local, from the excep-
tional to the ordinary, and from the elites to the bourgeoisie and working classes.
Furthermore, and as a concluding recommendation, dependency thinking today requires
us to confront the power hierarchies of the recent past (and present) using much more informed
critical perspectives on the geo-economic power of transnational corporations, the emergence
of BRICs in the global South, and the comparative declines of traditional cores hegemonic
authority in the global forum  the G20, the UN, and such (Amin 2003). Marxist theory may
no longer be sufficient in and of itself to explain contemporary processes of global North and
global South interdependencies, but the derivative critical perspectives drawn from such struc-
tural, neo-Marxist analysis by the likes of Amin, Wallerstein, and Frank can still help in the
formulation of progressive alternatives for developing societies.
References
Amin, S. (2003) Obsolescent Capitalism: Contemporary Politics and Global Disorder. New York:
Zed Books.
Baran, P. (1957) The Political Economy of Growth. New York: Monthly Review Press.
Cardoso, F. H. (1973) On the characterization of authoritative regimes in Latin America. In A.
Stepan (ed.) The New Authoritarianism in Latin America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press,
pp. 3457.
Chilcote, R. H. (1984) Theories of Development and Underdevelopment. London: Westview Press.
Conway, D. and Heynen, N. (2006) Globalizations Contradictions: Geographies of Discipline, Destruction
and Transformation. New York: Routledge.
Frank, A. G. (1966) The Development of Underdevelopment. Monthly Review 18(4): 1731.
Frank, A. G. (1979) Dependent Accumulation and Underdevelopment. New York: Monthly Review
Press.
Ghosh, B. N. (2001) Dependency Theory Revisited. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
Laclau, E. (1971) Feudalism and Capitalism in Latin America. London: New Left Review.
Prebisch, R. (1950) The Economic Development of Latin America and its Principal Problems. New York:
United Nations Dept. of Economic Affairs.
Wa l ler stein, I. (1974) The Modern World System. Volume 1: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the
European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Academic Press.
Wa l ler stein, I. (1980) The Modern World System. Volume 2: Mercantilism and Consolidation of the European
World-Economy , 1600 1750. New York: Academic Press.
Further reading
Blomstrom, M. and Hettne, B. (1984) Development Theory in Transition: The Dependency Debate and
Beyond  Third World Responses. London: Zed Books.
Cardoso, F. H. (1979) On the Characterization of Authoritarian Regimes in Latin America. In D.
Collier (ed.) The New Authoritarianism in Latin America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press,
pp. 3457.
Hettne, B. (1990) Development Theory and the Three Worlds. New York: John Wiley & Sons and Long-
man Scientific & Technical.
Kay, C. (1989) Latin American Theories of Development and Underdevelopment. New York: Routledge.
Palma, G. (1978) Dependency: A Formal Theory of Underdevelopment or a Methodology for the
Analysis of Concrete Situations of Underdevelopment? World Development 14(3): 881924.

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2.7

The New World Group

of dependency scholars

Reflections of a Caribbean

avant-garde movement

Don D. Marshall
This chapter neither aspires to a chronology nor historical sequencing of events. Instead it
retrospectively examines the rise and demise of an intellectual movement in the Anglophone
Caribbean under the animating force of decolonisation. Allowance is made for a foray into
the reasons behind the thwarted impulses of that age and the present decline of radical cri-
tique in the modern neoliberal period.
Introduction: Post-New World intellectual currents
Since the emergence of the New World movement in the early 1960s, it might be reasonable
to expect that gathering forces in the international system  shaped by the imperatives of glo-
balisation  would once more present the spectre of the emergence of vital new political
forces. Then, as now, the region was thrown back into contemplation on the relevance of its
development strategy. With the benefit of the backward glance, New World was first founded
in Georgetown towards the end of 1962 against the backdrop of a long general strike and
growing racial conf lict between African-Guyanese and Indian-Guyanese. The early founders
aspired to invent an indigenous view of the region, convinced that the modernisation ideolo-
gies very much in vogue neither inhered a strategy for real, independent development nor an
understanding of the political economy legacy of the Caribbean, of which more later.
Currently, Caribbean intellectuals in the main, particularly its social scientists, take on the
colour of their historical environs: if neoliberal capitalism cannot be successfully challenged,
then to all intents and purposes it does not exist; all that remains is the challenge of massaging
a link between market liberalisation and populist statism. To be sure, this concern among
Caribbean scholars and commentators does not preclude expression of despair in some quarters
over the sustainability of the island-national project of the Caribbean. This forecast is based on
an understanding of the export impetus girding contemporary capitalism and the difficulties
associated with making the transition in political economies dominated by merchant capital.
Decolonisation and the rise of the New World
The New World movement in the Anglophone Caribbean was marked by an optimism of will
and intellect. Newly independent governments were seen to be in pursuit of development

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New World dependency theory
guideposts to chart a self-reliant future. At the popular level, claims for social equality
through redistribution became intensely salient as an expression of justice. And knowledge
producers both within the academic and literary community, no longer under the heel of
colonial power, focused energies either on transformative or ameliorative development
agendas. Social dialogue and action seemed governed by an impulse towards West Indian
self-definition manifested in discussions on race, class, culture and the question of ownership
and control of the regions resources. The general decolonisation horizon within which such
mood and thought moved was also marked by raging debates occurring in the academic
world between modernisation theorists and neo-Marxist scholars. The New World Group
made up of largely historians and social scientists would come to draw from, and intervene
in, these debates, combining serious inquiry into the development possibilities under capital-
ism, with integrative, normative and programmatic thinking on nation building.
Considered by their pragmatic counterparts in government, media and academy as radi-
cals, this cluster of writers and commentators across the Caribbean came to be known as the
New World Group (NWG). Their thoughts and ideas on socialism, national self-determina-
tion and the delimiting horizons of capitalism reached a West Indian mass audience through
public lecture series, various national fora, and newspapers and newsletters of their creation.
The New World , a Jamaica-based magazine, first appeared in 1963 and was published fort-
nightly under the editorship of Lloyd Best with assistance from a host of University of the
West Indies (UWI, Mona Campus) scholars, George Beckford, Owen Jefferson, Roy Augier,
Derek Gordon, Don Robotham and Trevor Munroe, to list a few. From 1965, New World was
published as a quarterly. Bearing the imprint of the UWI, the New World would serve as a
loose association attaching its name to anti-imperialist consciousness-raising activity across
the region. Indeed NWGs were said to be formed in St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Washington DC,
Montreal, St. Kitts, Trinidad, Barbados, Anguilla, Jamaica and Guyana. Other publications
that appeared either as complements to or refinements of New World s mission included Moko
and Ta pia , Trinidad based weekly newspapers appearing in 1969, Abeng , a Jamaican newslet-
ter launched in the same year and the 1970 St. Lucia-based Forum.
The first issue of New World Quarterly (NWQ) focused on Guyanas development dilemma.
The analysis therein moved beyond conventional state-centric explanations about the coun-
trys savings gap, low technologies, unskilled, undifferentiated labour markets and inade-
quate infrastructure. Guyanas and indeed the Caribbeans limited development, it was
argued, was a function of the regions structural dependent linkages with Europe in terms of
its value system and its economic relations. This point of view resonated with the depend-
ency perspective first advanced by Paul Baran and subsequently extended by others who
specialised in Latin American area studies. It was certainly a more assimilable angle for
Norman Girvan and Owen Jefferson to deploy in their doctoral theses explaining Jamaican
underdevelopment (circa 1972) than the market-deficiency arguments of neoclassical propo-
nents. As Girvan and Jefferson saw it, the move towards self-government and independence
could not arrest the process of underdevelopment so long as the domestic economies remained
dependent on foreign capital and terms of trade set under colonial rule.
Principally, the path of resistance for New World associates was forged out of opposition
to Arthur Lewis (1955) import-substitution industrialisation (ISI) model, favoured by
Caribbean governments in the 1960s and 1970s. Brief ly, the ISI programme required state
provision of incentives to transnational enterprises in order to attract offshore industrial
operations. The various budgetary and fiscal preparatory statements placed emphasis on the
prospects for increased employment, technology transfer and stimulated markets for local
inputs.

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Beckford (1972), and Best and Levitt (1968) levelled a critique of Lewis model that was
representative of the dominant positions New World associates adopted on the question of
Caribbean capitalist development. With epistemic insights drawn from orthodox Marxists
and Latin American structuralists, their research fitted the growing canon of work seeking
to establish dependency as the source of persistent underdevelopment. Beckford and others
in the NWG would enrich this stock argument by anchoring the dependency concept within
the plantation experience of Caribbean societies.
Dependency theory and plantation economy
Beckfords (1972) Persistent Poverty defined the historic plantation slave economy as a quintes-
sential dependent economy, the units of which included Caribbean land, African unfree
labour and European capital. This is Best and Levitts (1968) pure plantation economy as no
other economic activity occurred outside the sugar plantation. Beckfords work was as much
a repudiation of Caribbean development strategies, as it was a paradigmatic challenge to the
liberal fallacy of progress. For him, the mode of accumulation in the region remained a
modified plantation economy variant, as dependent investment and aid ties with London and
other metropolitan cities persisted. After lamenting the disarticulation between branch-plant
production and the rest of the host economy, and the general mono-product character of
local economies, Beckford and, later, Best and Levitt outlined other structural features of
plantation economy which generated underdevelopment:
1 Land requirements of plantation production tended to restrict domestic food production.
2 Terms of trade often deteriorated as rising food and other imports presented balance of
payment difficulties.
3 And stagnant educational levels tended to foreclose on product diversification options
and improvements.
Havelock Brewster (1973), seized by the plantation economy argument, argued that foreign
capital could not possibly champion industrialisation in accordance with common needs and
the utilisation of the internal market. This was so, he surmised, because the gridlocked
nature of a plantation economy with its lack of an internal dynamic, its reliance on outdated
technologies and hierarchical management practices guaranteed for the region a subordinate
role in its relationships with core firms and countries.
We may gather from this that unlike their dependency counterparts in Latin America,
most New World associates relied less on external-determinist explanations to explain
Caribbean underdevelopment. They focused on the internal workings of Caribbean econo-
mies to account for the regions structural dependency, even as they were careful to note that
the characteristics of these economies extended back to colonial relations between Britain
and the West Indies. Dependentistas and structuralists, on the other hand, placed the centre
periphery relations they depict within the context of macro-historical forces intent on
locking peripheral societies into an unyielding spiral of exploitation and poverty.
Interestingly enough, Walter Rodney, a Guyanese historian, and Trevor Munroe, a
Jamaican political scientist, could be said to have framed Caribbean development in such
deterministic terms except that they singled out the social legacy of the plantation experience
as especially debilitating for non-white races. Both were inspired by Marxs historical mate-
rialist method but Rodney was inclined to argue that nation building in the region had to be
about renewing spirits, constructing grounds for black liberation and pursuing self-reliance.

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New World dependency theory
Trevor Munroes perspective was expressed in more classical but nuanced terms as he was
mindful of the plantation slavery experience. As he would frame it, underdevelopment in the
region was the predictable outcome of undeveloped class formation  itself partly perpetuated
by those mix of domestic policies which threw the territories back on traditional activity and
on traditional metropolitan dependence. The extent of the lag in technological, market,
infrastructural and resource development will pose a challenge to aspirant Caribbean socie-
ties committed to constructing a capitalist economy.
Of the NWG, however, Bests dependency perspective evinced a deep-seated ambiva-
lence towards Western discourses on development. Perhaps he was self-conscious of the post-
colonial scholars place in such literary transactions, of the dangers of succumbing to the
neoclassical association between open economies and automatic economic growth. In the
context of plantation economies, such assumptions muddled an already complex situation,
Best argued. His dependency perspective was consistently embedded in extended and detailed
analyses of ruling circles. Apart from providing address to the aforementioned features of
neo-colonial dependency in the region, he singled out the shared outlook of Caribbean elites
and Western development planners as a major brake on effecting meaningful socioeconomic
transformation. Not surprisingly, his appeal was for a shift in the register of social conscious-
ness on the par t of the r uling elite. The colonial hangover apar t, Best failed to draw suf f icient
attention to the degree of class conf lict inherent in decolonisation as new class forces move
to reorient the social system and the values that define that system.
The demise of the New World
As the 1970s dawned, the New World movement shuff led to a halt as division arose over
strategies, tactics and modes of resistance to neo-colonialism. By this time, Best was espe-
cially critical of the group, decrying what he saw as New Worlds fatal attraction for govern-
ments, and a tendency to substitute policy-oriented research for contemplative scholarship.
Increasingly, such knowledge products, he argued, amounted to exercises in self-justifica-
tion, and as such were quite explicit disclosures of governmental discourse in action. He was
also resistant to the idea that New World could move towards the formation of a political
party or organisation contending for power. In a polemic entitled, Whither New World,
Best (1968) spoke of the tensions of the group offering the following observation: There is
among us, much unwitting intolerance, little cool formulation, hardly any attentive listening
and even less effective communication. Munroe would come to lament their facetious
pursuit of class unity and vowed to distance himself from what he termed the bourgeois
idealism of New World.
The disintegration of the NWG was in part a result of the attention given by many to the
immediate realms of the policy process. Mona-based economists, in particular, played key
advisory roles in the Michael Manley Administration of the 1970s, while others across the
region responded to appeals from governments for technical and project management assis-
tance. But there are some scholars that instead place emphasis on the internal arguments
between Best and others on the question of New Worlds relevance and its activist orientation.
Their analysis, in my view, falls short precisely because they insufficiently recognise that New
World, as any avant-garde movement, became compromised not so much by bourgeois
acceptance as by absorption into the intelligentsia. Attendance to career, administration, and pub-
lic service would spawn a culture marked by keynote address, cocktail attendance and doctoral
authority. Consequently, the new radicals were to be found on the outskirts of black power
movements, drawn less to its ideology as to the struggle for worker freedom and justice.

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Theories and strategies of development
On a wider intellectual plane, New World could be said to suffer the slump it did largely
because the dependency concept itself lacked lasting explanatory power. Overall, there was a
circularity in the dependency argument: dependent countries are those that lack the capacity
for autonomous growth and they lack this because their structures are dependent ones. Other
scholars have also made the point about development in the world economy being in fact
dependent development, pointing to foreign investment relationships between core states and
firms. By the late 1970s, the emphasis among neo-Marxists shifted away from an independent
weight placed on dependency as undesirable, towards either a normative condemnation of
state capitalism or an appeal to Third World states to negotiate the scope of their dependency.
Summary: Back to the future
If we posit that openings for dissent are as necessary to democracy as securing of consent,
then Caribbean civil and uncivil society can continue to offer sites for objection and chal-
lenge. But there has been no New World equivalent emerging out of the tensions of the
present neoliberal period. True the rise and inf luence of non-governmental organisations
(NGOs), particularly womens organisations, trade unions and the galvanising work of the
Caribbean Policy Development Centre along with that of critical scholars have served to
exert pressure on increasing public transparency and inclusion. To be sure it is not at all clear
that NGOs constitute an intrinsically virtuous force for the collective good. These can run a
similar course to that of the New World. Beyond a certain point NGOs may lose the critical
element that caused them into existence as they render services to governance agencies, take
funds from them or cross over to work for government institutions and organisations that
they previously challenged. Currently, market mentalities predominate in government
bureaucracies, business firms and in academia. From various nostrums, academicians from
the UWI, particularly social scientists, are exhorted by media, business and government
commentators to give advice and attention to the technicality of social control or constitu-
tional and other reforms. In most issue spaces, ruling discourses of technocratic expertise
seem to arbitrarily suppress alternative perspectives. The UWIs role in this is not entirely
surprising as the universitys struggle for relevance and its sensitivity to budget efficiency do
make for a climate where conformity to the prevailing common sense seems the best course
for research programming. Hegemony-affirming research thus continues to triumph. Polit-
ical and intellectual challenges are foreclosed in the prevailing environment where priority
of survival continues to be asserted both as an operating principle and as a rationale for the
absence of radical critique. This is the bourgeois villainy Best would speak of when the case
was hardly self-evident among intellectuals of New World. The associates then at least
managed a discussion of Caribbean dependency that was enriched by site characteristics of
plantation production relations. This added colour to parallel debates in Latin America. For
New World associates, the dependency concept had operative power; it encouraged an inter-
esting entry point for challenging the colonial mode of accumulation. It also fashioned an
intellectual cachet of dissent in the region, illuminating history and social fact as economic
paradigms came under challenge.
Bibliography
Beckford, G. (1972) Persistent Poverty: Underdevelopment in Plantation Economies of the Third World ,
London: Maroon Publishing House and Zed Press.
Best, L. (1968) Forum: Whither New World, in New World , IV(1): 16.

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121
World-systems theory
Best, L. and K. Levitt (1968) Outlines of a Model of Pure Plantation Economy, in Social and Economic
Studies , 17(3), September: 283326.
Blomstrom, M. and B. Hettne (1984) Development Theory in Transition , London: Zed Books Ltd.
Brewster, H. (1973) Economic Dependence: A Quantitative Interpretation, in Social and Economic
Studies , 22(1): 9095.
Dookeran, W. (ed.) (1996) Choices and Change: Ref lections on the Caribbean , Washington, DC:
Inter-American Bank.
Hendriks, C. M. (2006) Integrated Deliberation: Reconciling Civil Societys Dual Role in Delibera-
tive Democracy, in Political Studies , 54: 486508.
Lewis, R. C. (1998) Walter Rodneys Intellectual and Political Thought , Detroit: The Press University of
the West Indies and Wayne State University Press.
Lewis, W. A. (1955) The Theory of Economic Growth , London: Allen and Unwin.
Marshall, D. D. (2000) Academic Travails and a Crisis-of-Mission of UWI Social Sciences: From
History and Critique to Anti-Politics, in G. Howe (ed.) Higher Education in the Anglophone Caribbean:
Past, Present, and Future Directions , Mona: University of the West Indies Press, pp. 5984.
Munroe, T. (1990) Jamaican Politics: A Marxist Perspective in Transition , Kingston and Boulder, Colorado:
Heinemann Publishers (Caribbean Limited) and Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Rodney, W. (1972) How Europe Underdeveloped Africa , London: Penguin Books.

2.8

World-systems theory

Core, semi-peripheral, and

peripheral regions

Thomas Klak
Definition
World-systems theory (WST) argues that any countrys development conditions and prospects
are primarily shaped by economic processes, commodities chains, divisions of labour, and geo-
political relationships operating at the global scale. World-systems theorists posit the existence
of a single global economic system since at least the outset of European industrialization around
178090. According to WST doyen Immanuel Wallerstein and others, the global system dates
back even further, to at least 1450, when international trade began to grow, and when Europe
embarked on its age of discovery and colonization (Frank and Gills, 1993). Contrary to much
social science thinking, WST stresses the futility of a statist orientation  that is, the attempt
to analyse or generate development by focusing at the level of individual countries, each of
which is profoundly shaped by world-system opportunities and constraints (Bair, 2005).
WST has identified a number of regularly occurring historical cycles associated with the
level and quality of global business activity. These cycles account for economic booms and

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Theories and strategies of development
busts of various durations. The main economic periods for WST are Kondratieff cycles , named
after the Russian economist who discovered them in the 1920s. Each cycle or long wave lasts
about 5060 years and represents a qualitatively different phase of global capitalism, not just
a modification of the previous cycle. Kondratieff cycles are themselves divided into a period
of expansion and stagnation. There is first an A-phase of upswing, economic expansion, and
quasi-monopolistic profitability, fuelled by technological innovations and organized by new
asymmetrical institutional rules. Price inf lation increases during the A-phase. This then leads
into a B-phase of increased competition, profit decline, economic slowdown, and price
def lation. The profit squeeze towards the end of the B-phase motivates capitalists and poli-
cymakers to create new and innovative ways to accumulate capital. They work to shift
investment out of established economic sectors, regulated environments, and production
locations, and thereby create the conditions for a new Kondratieff cycle (Knox et al ., 2003).
The previous Kondratieff cycle began in the 1940s, expanded until 196773 (A-phase),
and then contracted through the 1980s (B-phase). Each cycles organizing institutions and
rules are both economic and political. For that cold war cycle, key economic rules and struc-
tures included the US dollar as the global currency, and supranational bodies such as the
World Bank, the IMF, and the G7. Political structures included the UN and the geopolitical
divisions brokered at the Yalta conference. It divided Europe into US- and Russian-domi-
nated zones, pitted global capitalism against Russian-led state socialism (communism), and
presented the Third World as ideologically contested turf. The early twenty-first century
found the world in a cycle shaped by the WTO, neoliberal free trade, and global financial
liberalization aimed at ensuring quasi-monopolistic profitability and global power for core
countries. As in the cold war cycle, the United States remains the pre-eminent core (and thus
global) power, but its hegemony is now contested by other strengthening core countries and
semi-peripheral countries, notably China. The global financial crisis since 2008 may signal
the dawn of new long wave shaped by such factors as information technologies, resource
scarcity, and climate change (Moody and Nogrady, 2010).
Scholars and disciplines influencing, and influenced by, WST
WST is deeply linked to its principal architect, Immanuel Wallerstein (born 1930). Indeed,
few inf luential theoretical perspectives are so intertwined with one contemporary scholar.
WSTs conceptual roots are largely in Marxism. Wallerstein (1979) says that WST follows
the spirit of Marx if not the letter. Evidence of Marxs spirit includes WSTs emphasis on
class, the state, imperialism, and control over the means of production and labour power.
WSTs objections to classical Marxism include concern over a theoretical component known
as developmentalism. This is the idea that societies move sequentially through feudalism, capi-
talism, and socialism to communism, and that they can be analysed and transformed individ-
ually and separately from the world system. WSTs alternative view  that there has been for
centuries but one world economy driven by capital accumulation  employs a concept of
mode of production closer to that of Karl Polanyi than to Marx.
WST has much interdisciplinary relevance, and has therefore attracted both supporters
and detractors from across the social sciences. WST complements political-economic analysis
rooted in the traditions of dependency theory (Cardoso and Faletto, 1979), uneven development
(Smith, 1984), and dependent development (Evans, 1979). A conceptually overlapping but per-
haps less economistic and highly inf luential alternative to WST is the regulation school. Usually
applied at a more local level than WST (i.e. to national or subnational systems), regulation
theory seeks to identify phases of capitalism of variable length based on relations between a

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World-systems theory
particular prevailing method of accumulating capital, and an associated mode of regulation,
that is, a set of state regulations and behavioural norms (OHara, 2003).
The geography of WST: Three groups of nation-states
WSTs temporal cycles of systemic integration, order, turbulence, transition and reconsti-
tution of the global economy play out variably across geographical space. The world system
is very unequal. Despite (or, world-system theorists argue, because of ) several centuries of
worldwide economic integration and trade, and more than sixty-five years of World Bank-
led international development, global inequalities continue to rise, and at an increasing
pace. The difference in per capita income separating the richest and poorest countries was
3 : 1 in 1820, 35 : 1 in 1950, 72 : 1 in 1992, 108 : 1 in 2004, and 384 : 1 in 2011 (UNDP,
1999, 2006, 2011). Within this highly unequal world order are place-specific dynamics. At
times, regions can rise and fall in terms of power, development, and economic potential.
WST describes this globally differentiated space with reference to nation-states, regional
groupings thereof, and regions within nation-states. These fall into three categories (see
Figure 2.8.1).
Scholars disagree over which variables best define a countrys positions in the world sys-
tem (Mahutga et al ., 2011). With this caveat in mind, general geographical features can be
described. Countries of the core or centre are the sites of global economic (and especially indus-
trial) control and wealth, and the associated political and military strength and inf luence.
Core countries feature higher-skill, capital-intensive production. Politically, they collec-
tively establish and enforce the rules of the global order and, through these advantages,
appropriate surplus from non-core countries. The semi-periphery is positioned between the
cores strengths and peripherys weaknesses. It mixes characteristics of the core (e.g. industry,
export power, prosperity) and the periphery (e.g. poverty, primary product reliance, vulner-
ability to core decision-making). The semi-periphery is the most turbulent category, in that
its members most frequently rise or fall in the global hierarchy. In semi-peripheral countries,
there is much hope for development and joining the core countries, and narrow windows of
opportunity to do so. But there are also intense interactions with core countries bent on
fostering their own capital accumulation by maintaining the hierarchical status quo. The
periphery is the backwater of the world system. It provides low-skill production and raw mate-
rials for industries elsewhere. It has poor living conditions and bleak development prospects.
The semi-periphery versus periphery distinction for non-core regions is important. It avoids
grouping such a heterogeneous set of countries with respect to development, industrializa-
tion, trade, resource control, and geopolitics. Still, putting the worlds 200 countries into just
three groups inevitably glosses over much intra-group heterogeneity. Note the regional clus-
tering of countries in the three categories in the figure. At present the core is mainly North
America, Western Europe, and Japan. The semi-periphery is essentially East Asia, Latin
Americas larger countries, and most of the former Soviet realm. The periphery is everything
else, particularly Africa (Wallersteins empirical focus).
A nation-states position in the world system is historically path dependent , but not deter-
ministically so. Nation-states can move between categories over time, depending on their
accumulation regimes, development strategies, and international aid and alliances. Indeed,
WST is quite useful for analysing the upward and downward movement of countries over
time. There is no agreement over each countrys categorization, depending on the defining
characteristics and their interpretation. In addition, relative positions within each of the three
categories can also shift over time.

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Figure 2.8.1
The world-system at the dawn of the twenty-first century
Notes:
For an explanation of the country-level classification system shown in this figure, please see Gwynne
et al

. 2003.

CategoryCoreSemi-peripheryPeriphery

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World-systems theory
East Asia illustrates the semi-peripherys potential and turbulence. Following massive US
aid and industrial export growth in recent decades, South Korea has recently been knocking
on the cores gate, although it was set back considerably by the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
Indonesia has traditionally been peripheral, but in recent decades it has arguably joined the
semi-periphery. Its increased clout derives from economic growth based on industrial exports
for Nike and others, large resource endowments including oil exports, and its status as the
worlds fourth most populous country (see Figure 2.8.1). Chinas industrial export boom and
associated capital accumulation since the 1980s drove it into the semi-periphery. Now many
Japanese and US leaders fear Chinas global resource hunger and ambitions as a soon-to-be
core country (Zweig and Jianhai, 2005).
Criticisms of WST
One capitalist world economy, divided by Kondratieff cycles, since at least 1450?
Need we subscribe to WSTs totalizing global history to employ it effectively to understand
recent development? Compared to Wallerstein, few writers employing a WST framework are
as deeply historical, and few treat economic activities during previous centuries in such a
globally holistic way. Much work, for example, has been done to identify the evolving features
of capitalism associated with five Kondratieff cycles extending back only to 1789. Many other
WST-inf luenced scholars focus on the dynamics of contemporary capitalism. WST purists
may reject these approaches as insufficiently historical.
While Kondratieff cycles have considerable historical and empirical support (Mandel, 1980),
they remain controversial. Others have assembled evidence to cast doubt on the existence and
significance of long waves, and to suggest instead that capitalism moves through phases of dif-
fering lengths, problems, and features (e.g. Maddison, 1991). As mentioned earlier, the regula-
tion school is one alternative conceptualization of contemporary capitalist dynamics.
Metatheory?
Beyond the considerable empirical analysis of Kondratieff cycles and their associated pro-
duction and technological features, many WST claims remain untested and are perhaps
untestable. Most WST-inf luenced scholarship focuses on the contemporary global political
economy and the lack of time series data limits testing. Further, how could the simple
three-category spatial division of the world system be tested? WST-inspired writing tends to
read like an open-ended analysis of unfolding world events. Critics can claim that this method
allows one to find and fit the data anecdotally to the theory. Better to think of a world-
system approach , analysis , or perspective than a world-system theory.
Neglect of the local?
Operating mainly at the global level and concerned with economic cycles over decades if not
centuries, WST is too holistic to account for local dynamics. Indeed, WST underplays the
generative role of local activities, initiatives, social movements, and people.
Conclusion
World-systems theory, with its keen sense of historical, cyclical, technological, and geograph-
ical patterns, has undoubtedly deepened our understanding of the global political economy.

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Theories and strategies of development
It is a satisfying antidote to the reductionism, ahistoricism, and superficiality in most popular
interpretations of economic change. WSTs historical and holistic perspective and level-head-
edness serve to counter the recent hyperbole about the uniqueness of globalization and inevi-
tability of neoliberalism.
In practice, many scholars employing a WST perspective downplay the details and
measurement of the cycles of upswing and downswing in the global economy. They focus
instead primarily on contemporary trends, and adopt a qualitative approach to understanding
business cycles, global systemic change, and the associated realignments of geopolitical and
economic power, constraints, and potential. Many economists and some WST purists would
judge a more qualitative version of WST to be insufficiently rigorous and therefore theoret-
ically deficient. WST defenders would counter that a more qualitative approach is suitable,
given their aim to see the big picture and to decipher and rectify contemporary economic
and political institutions and options.
References
Bair, J. (2005) Global capitalism and commodity chains: Looking back, going forward. Competition
and Change , 9: 15380.
Cardoso, F. and Faletto, E. (1979) Dependency and Development in Latin America , Berkeley: University of
California Press.
Evans, P. (1979) Dependent Development: The Alliance of Multinational, State, and Local Capital in Brazil ,
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Frank, A. G. and Gills, B. (eds) (1993) The World System: Five Hundred Years or Five Thousand? London:
Routledge.
Gwynne, R., Klak, T. and Shaw, D. (2003) Alternative Capitalisms: Geographies of Emerging Regions ,
London: Hodder Arnold.
Knox, P., Agnew, J. and McCarthy, L. (2003) The Geography of the World Economy (4th edn), London:
Hodder Arnold.
Maddison, A. (1991) Dynamic Forces in Capitalist Development , Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mahutga, M., Kown, R. and Grainger, G. (2011) Within-country inequality and the modern-world
system: A theoretical reprise and empirical first step. Journal of World-Systems Research , XVII:
279307.
Mandel, E. (1980) Long Waves of Capitalist Development , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Moody, J. and Nog rady, B. (2010) Welcome to the Sixth Wave , North Sydney: Random House
Australia.
OHara, P. (2003) Deep recession and financial instability or a new long wave of economic growth for
US capitalism? A regulation school approach. Review of Radical Political Economics , 35: 1843.
Smith, N. (1984) Uneven Development: Nature, Capital, and the Production of Space , New York:
Blackwell.
UNDP (1999, 2006, 2011) Human Development Report , New York: Oxford University Press.
Wallerstein, I. (1979) The Capitalist World-Economy , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Zweig, D. and Jianhai, B. (2005) Chinas global hunt for energy. Foreign Affairs , September/October.
Further reading
Knox, P., Agnew, J. and McCarthy, L. (2008) The Geography of the World Economy (5th edn), London:
Hodder Education. Couples WST with economic geography to explore the workings of the con-
temporary global economy.
Shannon, T. R. (1996) An Introduction to the World-System Perspective (2nd edn), Boulder: Westview
Press. Useful overview of WST, endorsed by Wallerstein.
Wa l ler stein, I. (ed.) (20 04) The Modern World System in the Longue Dure , Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publish-
ers. Wide-ranging chapters by leading world-system scholars providing a useful overview of WST.
Wa l ler stein, I. (20 04) World-System Analysis: An Introduction. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Wallersteins own introduction to the field.

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Indigenous knowledge and development
Websites
Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems, and Civilizations, Binghamton
University. Available online at http://www.binghamton.edu/f bc/. The Center aims to explain systemati-
cally and coherently what is fundamentally a single occurrence, the development of the modern
world system.
Journal of World-Systems Research. Available online at http://jwsr.ucr.edu/index.php. Free online journal
devoted to WST.
Wallerstein, Immanuel. His official website, available online at http://www.iwallerstein.com/.

2.9

Indigenous knowledge and

development

John Briggs
Interest in indigenous knowledge systems particularly developed during the 1980s, primarily
in response to dissatisfaction with modernisation as a means of improving living standards for
the majority of the population of the global South. Modernisation, through the diffusion of
formal scientific and technical knowledges from the North to the global South, has been seen
to be an effective way of eradicating poverty. Consequently, development has frequently been
conceptualised as a fundamentally technical issue, driven by the dominant science discourses
from Europe and North America. By the 1980s, however, it had become clear that this transfer
had not been wholly successful in transforming the lives of many, and especially so in Africa.
Alternatives were sought, and in promoting local-level, even anti-development,
approaches, Escobar (1995, 98) perhaps captures the spirit best when he writes: the remaking
of development must start by examining local constructions, to the extent that they are the
life and history of the people, that is, the conditions of and for change. This highlights the
importance of local-level histories, geographies and sociocultural constructs in understand-
ing community level development, as well as the need for a more explicit acknowledgement
of indigenous knowledge as a valid body of knowledge. Despite this, much current develop-
ment thinking still ref lects the dominance of formal science; development remains a techni-
cal challenge and the voices of the poor and dispossessed are still little heard. However, the
challenge for a new vision remains, and there is an increasing sympathy for the view that
there is now an explicit understanding among many promoters and practitioners that farmer
participatory research has clear advantages for the development of appropriate, environmen-
tally friendly and sustainable production systems (Okali et al ., 1994, 6).
The first major discussions of indigenous knowledge in development can be traced to a
collection of papers in the IDS Bulletin in 1979 (see, for example, Howes, 1979). This was

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Theories and strategies of development
followed by an important landmark work edited by Brokensha et al. (1980). Richards (1985)
took the debate forward with a study that showed how African farmers used their own
knowledge systems as the basis for successful agricultural production. Interestingly, Richardss
study raises the issue as to whether these local knowledge systems are complementary to for-
mal science, or whether they are rather more radical alternatives, which better ref lect the
needs, aspirations and priorities of local people. Based on much of this pioneering work,
indigenous knowledge has become increasingly important in discussions on sustainable
development because of the ways in which such knowledge has apparently allowed people to
live in harmony with nature while still being able to make a living. If indigenous knowledge
has indeed become an accepted part of development, then this can be seen as a shift from the
preoccupation with the centralised, technically oriented solutions of the past decades that
failed to alter life prospects for a majority of the peasants and small farmers of the world
(Agrawal, 1995, 414).
A number of development agencies have been keen to try to deploy indigenous knowl-
edge in their development strategies. The World Bank (1998: i), for example, argues that
there is a need not only to help bring global knowledge to the developing countries, but also
to learn about indigenous knowledge (IK) from these countries, paying particular attention
to the knowledge base of the poor. Although the broad thrust is very welcome, indigenous
knowledge is still seen as little more than a list of easily identifiable, mostly technical and
discrete knowledges. There is little sense of dealing with embedded knowledges as part of a
wider economy and society. Indigenous knowledge in the World Banks conceptualisation is
not allowed to offer a fundamental challenge to development, but simply to offer the oppor-
tunity for some technical, place-specific solutions where indigenous knowledge can hopefully
be integrated into World Bank-supported programmes. This can only come about once the
validity of indigenous knowledge has been confirmed through the lens of formal science.
Only then can indigenous knowledge be judged to be worthy of serious investigation and
dissemination (Briggs and Sharp, 2004).
Herein, therefore, lies a fundamental problem in deploying indigenous knowledge in
development, that of the tensions between formal Western science and indigenous knowl-
edge, a peoples science, a tension which may be referred to as the binary divide. Western
science is rational, controlled, rigorous and universal; indigenous knowledge is irrational,
imbued with folklore and too place-specific to offer any meaningful solution to underdevel-
opment. The danger with this position is that if modern Western science is located at one end
of the development spectrum, indigenous knowledge is located at the other. It is, however,
increasingly apparent that such polar extremes are in reality untenable, and there is greater
sympathy for the view that indigenous knowledge represents a complementary, not compet-
ing, knowledge, and that it represents a sense of additionality (Reij et al ., 1996).
A problem, however, is that if an overdependence on modernisation approaches has failed
to deliver significantly improved living standards for the bulk of the worlds population over
the last fifty years or so, then an overdependence on indigenous knowledge as an alternative,
at the other extreme, may also fail to deliver meaningful development results. The tensions
between the two knowledge systems have been exacerbated by the resistance of modernisa-
tion theorists and practitioners to using indigenous knowledge systems in development. For
them, the problem of poverty is to be treated by technology transfer, by capital investment,
and by the release of productive forces. The development agenda is defined in the corridors
of power in the North, and, in this, the voice of the South is largely unheard. For example,
for many in the North, dryland areas have to be managed in a rational, technocratic manner,
as befits fragile and vulnerable environments, using knowledges rooted firmly in Western

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Indigenous knowledge and development
science and technology. No worthwhile contribution can be made by the inhabitants of such
areas themselves, as they have little meaningful to offer; indeed, left to their own ways, their
management, if that is what it can be called, will only result in further degradation. The
voice of the South is to be ignored as it has no worthwhile contribution to make. Proponents
of indigenous knowledge argue that the indigenous knowledge of those people resident in
particular places can be of equal, or even greater, value than more formal Western scientific
knowledge. However, if this argument is followed through, then Western science loses its
universal hegemonic position, a position of power, and becomes one of a range of competing
and contested knowledge systems. Pretty (1994, 38) has observed that the trouble with normal
science is that it gives credibility to opinion only when it is defined in scientific language,
which may be inadequate for describing the complex and changing experiences of farmers
and other actors in rural development. Consequently, knowledge that is not rooted in Western
science is still seen by many in the development community as f lawed, other than in instances
where straightforward and uncontroversial indigenous technical solutions can be incorpo-
rated into development practice.
An additional problem with indigenous knowledge in the context of development is its
empirical nature and the extent to which it is place-specific, and hence not easily transferable
over geographic space. Methods of indigenous soil and water management in particular have
attracted considerable interest, as has research on medicinal plant use. There is now a better
understanding of how local people make sense of soil properties and characteristics, using
attributes such as colour and feel, rather than chemical factors that Western pedologists might
employ. Ostberg (1995), in a fascinating study in Tanzania, for example, discusses how farmers
talk about cool land, which is good for cultivation, and then land which becomes tired, and
then hot, and which should no longer be cultivated. Interesting as these micro-narratives are,
there is still a sense of frustration among development practitioners as to how useful they are
in the bigger scheme of things.
In a similar vein, the fact that indigenous knowledge is differentiated within communities
makes it difficult to use in development. Although it would be attractive to generate the
concept of a community knowledge, shared by all its members, in reality this rarely, if ever,
exists, because such knowledge is fragmentary and is cut across by factors such as wealth,
production priorities, household circumstances and so on. All these factors impact on an
individuals access to knowledge and that individuals ability to deploy such knowledge.
Various studies have also shown that there can be clear gender differences in indigenous
knowledge acquisition and how such knowledge is deployed (Briggs et al ., 2003). With this
kind of fragmentation and differentiation, it becomes a challenge for indigenous knowledge
to be successfully and effectively deployed across a range of rural settings.
The power relations associated with indigenous knowledge are no less problematic, par-
ticularly at the local scale. Bluntly put, whose knowledge counts? There is a tendency among
some to take the view that indigenous knowledge is an inherently good thing, but, of
course, th is need not be the case at a l l. A n example of loca l meeting s in Tanzan ia showed that
it tended to be a small group of the same male voices that were constantly being heard
(Cleaver, 1999). Under these circumstances, indigenous knowledge can become the product
(and property) of only a small group of powerful individuals.
There has sometimes been a tendency to romanticise indigenous knowledge as a static,
unchanging, pristine and untainted knowledge system. Hence, the trick becomes one of how
to tease out these knowledges, which will then provide the key to a sustainable development.
The danger with this approach is that it privileges indigenous knowledge in the same way
that modernisation privileges Western science. However, it is clear that rural people in the

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Theories and strategies of development
global South are very open to a whole range of ideas, regardless of their origins, as long as
they make economic sense and are culturally acceptable. The notion that indigenous knowl-
edge is static, unchanging, pristine and untainted is very difficult to sustain; instead, it is
f luid, dynamic and provisional. People will adopt and experiment with new ideas if they will
improve their livelihoods, and so it may be that instead of the term indigenous knowledge, a
better term might be local mediated knowledges, deliberately in the plural (Briggs, 2005).
There is also the issue of the contextualisation of indigenous knowledge. It does not exist
separate from the societ y in which it is found, but is ver y much embedded in ever yday practice,
ref lecting the economic, social, cultural and political characteristics of that village, society,
and so on. This is particularly awkward for development because it makes the deployment of
indigenous knowledge difficult over different geographic spaces, highlighting one of the key
differences between indigenous knowledge and Western science. Whereas the former is
deeply embedded within its context, the latter is separated, almost disembodied from its
context, and is, therefore, presumably much more universally applicable. This line of reason-
ing leads inexorably to the conclusion that indigenous knowledge cannot be successfully
developed into a development tool, because it has little relevance or applicability outside its
immediate area.
The seeming inability of indigenous knowledge to be scaled up, and used beyond its
immediate locality, has led to a sense of frustration, perhaps best summarised by Sillitoe
(2010, 12), when he writes: [After] two decades or so, the indigenous knowledge (IK) in
development initiative has not, frankly, had the success some of us expected. There is little
doubt that there has been a plethora of locally based studies over the last two decades that
demonstrate the strength and value of indigenous knowledge at the local level, and these have
been important in their own right to validate indigenous knowledge in relation to scientific
knowledge. However, there is now a view developing that the focus of indigenous knowl-
edge research needs to tur n from content more towards process, to focus on ways of know ing
at the local level and to recognise such knowledges not as a tool, but more as a perspective on
development at this local level (Berkes, 2009). This implies more nuanced understandings
being developed of indigenous ways of knowing, of complex power relations associated with
knowledge at the local level, and of how empowerment can be enhanced without the prob-
lems associated with participatory methods (Cooke and Kothari, 2001). This is without
doubt a challenge, but one that needs to be addressed before indigenous knowledge becomes
an important element of the development armoury.
References
Agrawal, A. (1995) Dismantling the divide between indigenous and scientific knowledge. Development
and Change , 26, 413439.
Berkes, F. (2009) Indigenous ways of knowing and the study of environmental change. Journal of the
Royal Society of New Zealand , 39, 151156.
Briggs, J. (2005) The use of indigenous knowledge in development: Problems and challenges. Progress
in Development Studies , 5, 99114.
Briggs, J. and Sharp, J. (2004) Indigenous knowledges and development: A postcolonial caution. Third
World Quarterly , 25, 661676.
Briggs, J., Sharp, J., Hamed, N. and Yacoub, H. (2003) Changing womens roles, changing environ-
mental knowledges: Evidence from Upper Egypt. Geographical Journal , 169, 313325.
Brokensha, D., Warren, D. and Werner, O. (1980) (eds) Indigenous knowledge systems and development.
New York: University Press of America.
Cleaver, F. (1999) Paradoxes of participation: Questioning participatory approaches to development.
Journal of International Development , 11, 597612.

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131
Participatory development
Cooke, B. and Kothari, U. (2001) (eds) Participation: The new tyranny? London: Zed Books.
Escobar, A. (1995) Encountering development: The making and unmaking of the Third World. Princeton, NJ:
Princeton University Press.
Howes, M. (1979) The use of indigenous technical knowledge in development. IDS Bulletin , 10, 1223.
Okali, C., Sumberg, J. and Farrington, J. (1994) Farmer participatory research: Rhetoric and reality. London:
Intermediate Technology Publications/Overseas Development Institute.
Ostberg, W. (1995) Land is coming up: The Burunge of central Tanzania and their environments. Stockholm:
Stockholm Studies in Anthropology.
Pretty, J. N. (1994) Alternative systems of enquiry for a sustainable agriculture. IDS Bulletin , 25, 3748.
Reij, C., Scoones, I. and Toulmin, C. (1996) (eds) Sustaining the soil: Indigenous soil and water conservation
in Africa. London: Earthscan.
Richards, P. (1985) Indigenous agricultural revolution: Ecology and food production in West Africa. London:
Hutchinson.
Sillitoe, P. (2010) Trust in development: Some implications of knowing in indigenous knowledge.
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute , 16, 1230.
World Bank (1998) Indigenous knowledge for development: A framework for action. Knowledge and Learning
Centre, Africa Region, World Bank. Available online at http://www.worldbank.org/afr/ik/ikrept.pdf
(accessed 30 May 2003).
Further reading
Ellen, R., Parkes, P. and Bicker, A. (2000) (eds) Indigenous environmental knowledge and its transformations:
Critical anthropological perspectives. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers.
Leach, M. and Mearns, R. (1996) (eds) The lie of the land: Challenging received wisdom on the African envi-
ronment. London: International African Institute.
Pottier, J., Bicker, A. and Sillitoe, P. (2003) (eds) Negotiating local knowledge: Power and identity in develop-
ment. London: Pluto Press.

2.10

Participatory development

Giles Mohan
Introduction
Over the past 30 years a wide range of organizations have started involving local people in
their own development, so much so that it has become a new orthodoxy (Cornwall 2002a).
This chapter begins by looking at different definitions of participatory development and
examines through what sorts of organization it is achieved. As there are many possible
approaches, I have included case studies which demonstrate different facets of participation.
This brings us on to a critique and an overview of where things seem to be heading, particu-
larly linking participation to citizenship.

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Theories and strategies of development
Participatory development in theory
The emergence of participatory development (PD) is tied into critiques of both theory and
practice.
The emergence of participation
According to the strongest advocates of PD, normal development is characterized by Euro-
centrism, positivism, and top-downism which constitute epistemological disenfranchise-
ment (Connell, 2007: 107). The tendency is to equate development with the modernity
achieved by Western societies with the f lipside that non-expert local people were sidelined.
As it became apparent that programmes had yielded limited benefits, the volume of criticism
grew. In the 1970s, radicals such as Paulo Freire (1970) advocated participatory action research
which created new learning environments for people to express their needs and achieve devel-
opment. Green (2010) shows how in the case of Tanzania, participation in development became
a deep-rooted political culture in the post-independence period allied to experiments in
African socialism. Even mainstream organizations like the World Bank pushed for basic needs
which targeted marginalized groups. Added to this were academics, most notably Robert
Chambers, who argued that putting the last first was necessary for rural development.
Contested definitions
Participation is generally deemed a good thing, but it has multiple meanings, which makes it
amenable to different interpretations and uses while appearing to be speaking about the same
thing. Thus, Green (2010) terms it a boundary object, which creates the possibilities for
groups with divergent perspectives and interests to enter into temporary collaborations around
shared objects of management (p. 1242). Therefore, defining these divergent meanings is
important for assessing its possible (ab)uses and impacts. In terms of development, a key ques-
tion is if people participate, what are they aiming to gain by participating? One view is about
efficiency and effectiveness of formal development programmes (Cornwall, 2002a). The goals of
development are valid although the institutions are malfunctioning, but can be improved by
involving the beneficiaries. Another view concerns mutual learning , in which participation
entails understanding where others are coming from and, ideally, learning from one another
to achieve a better outcome (Chambers, 1997). Others take this further in seeing participation
as more transformative (Hickey and Mohan, 2005). That is, development is f lawed and only by
valorizing other voices can meaningful social change occur. It is in this sense that the recent
emphasis on participation as citizenship, which I discuss later, is aimed.
Despite these differences, there has been a growing acceptance regarding the importance
of local involvement from both neoliberals and radicals, what Dagnino (2008) terms a per-
verse conf luence. Underlying this consensus is the belief in not relying solely on the state.
So, it is not accidental that PD gained popularity around the same time as the neoliberal
counter-revolution of the 1980s with its discourse of self-help and individualism and has
remained popular under the slightly more state-friendly inclusive liberalism of the new
millennium (Golooba-Mutebi and Hickey, 2010).
Powerful processes
It needs emphasizing that whichever approach to participation we adopt, PD is fundamen-
tally about power (Nelson and Wright, 1995). Cornwall (2002b) usefully distinguishes

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Participatory development
between invited and claimed spaces of participation. Invited spaces are the more formal
events where development agents create forums for stakeholders to contribute and, ideally,
reach a consensus. By contrast, claimed spaces are more organic and involve the poor taking
control of political processes, without necessarily being invited in. In practice, political strug-
gle usually has elements of both invitation and claiming with subaltern agents resisting and
subverting these political processes in creative ways (Shakya and Rankin, 2008).
Participatory development in practice
In this section I discuss the institutional arrangements involved in PD and the processes
through which it attempts to change power relations.
Grassroots civil society
In rejecting the statism and top-downism of normal development, the focus for PD has
become the grassroots level which permits a plurality of developmental goals to be realized
as well as giving communities the self-determination they need. Hence, PD has become
associated with civil society. If state structures are bureaucratic and unaccountable, then civil
society organizations are believed to be more accountable and hands-on. Although civil
society has multiple meanings, it has largely been interpreted as the realm of non-govern-
mental organizations (NGOs), with many southern-based ones relying on funding and insti-
tutional support from northern partners and increasingly states use NGOs as vehicles for
certain forms of social development (Dagnino, 2008).
New knowledges
The first step in reversing the biases marginalizing the poor concerns rethinking knowledge
generation. The expert systems of modernity relied upon scientific approaches so that the
recipients of development were treated as passive. PD reverses this. The research methods for
accessing local knowledges were inspired by Paulo Freire and have grown into a veritable
industry (Chambers, 1997), but all centre upon trying to see the world from the point of view
of those directly affected by the developmental intervention.
The most widely used methodology is participatory rural appraisal (PRA). As Chambers
(1997: 103) explains:
The essence of PRA is change and reversals  of role, behaviour, relationship and learn-
ing. Outsiders do not dominate and lecture; they facilitate, sit down, listen and learn.
Outsiders do not transfer technology; they share methods which local people can use for
their own appraisal, analysis, planning, action, monitoring and evaluation. Outsiders do
not impose their reality; they encourage and enable local people to express their own.
PRA relies on many visual and oral techniques for generating knowledge because it is felt
that the medium of written language is prejudicial to free expression. So, PD seeks out diver-
sity rather than treating everybody as uniform objects of development.
Participation in action
So far I have outlined the theory of PD, but what happens when it is practised in the real
world? These brief case studies demonstrate different facets of PD. The Aga Khan Rural

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Theories and strategies of development
Support Programme (India) has used participation to enhance the effectiveness of pre-deter-
mined projects. The participatory approach aimed at consensus-building and to find a
meeting ground to negotiate terms of collaboration (Shah, 1997: 75). In a dam scheme the
farmers were not given an option regarding water payments, but the participatory exercise
helped reach mutually agreeable solutions. As Shah (1997: 77) concludes, this was certainly
not true empowerment where villagers decide and prioritize development proposals with
minimal external support and facilitation. Shah suggests that while transformatory partici-
pation might be desirable it is rarely viable where external agents are time-bound and
accountable to funders. But that is not to say they are dictatorial and that the lack of true
empowerment detracts from real benefits. As Corbidge (2007: 201) argues, also based on
Indian examples, good practical (indeed political) arguments can be made in favour of par-
ticular development policies that might seem reformist or hopelessly pragmatic. Corbridge
makes a plea for not basing our analysis and prescriptions on a normative high ground of
politics divorced from the messy realities of actually existing struggle; a theme I return to
later.
A similar issue is raised where participatory approaches have been scaled up. In the mid-
1990s, the major donors initiated poverty reduction strategies (PRSs), which responded to
the criticism of structural adjustment programmes for being imposed on countries. Instead,
formulation of PRSs is to be owned by the countries concerned, which means scaling up
the invited spaces in which citizens and their representative organizations have a voice
(Lazarus, 2008). However, these mass participation exercises are often piecemeal, late in the
policy process, and involve only safe civil society organizations who will not question the
neoliberal logic of PRSs.
By contrast, Esteva and Prakash (1998) see the Mexican Zapatistas as a political force push-
ing for a different understanding of development through novel forms of participation. How-
ever, more low key and less combative approaches focus on civic engagement in urban service
delivery through such things as school boards whereby participation in one institution has
knock on effects that transform the process of local governance (Fung, 2004). Taken together,
it becomes clear that these different uses of participation are not exclusive and means that in
any given situation we need to be realistic and specific about the nature of participation that
is either envisaged and/or possible.
The problems of participatory development
Having looked at these case studies it is worth drawing together some of the interrelated
problems that have emerged with PD.
The first is tokenism. As PD has become popular, some agencies use the rhetoric of par-
ticipation with limited empowerment. In many cases PRA has become so routinized that
many agencies treat it as a rubber stamp to prove their participatory credentials. In the PRS
process, which champions participation and ownership, most representatives of civil society
are in fact midde-class activists who are hand-picked to ensure agreement (Golooba-Mutebi
and Hickey, 2010). Allied to this is that reliance on a toolkit approach to knowledge creation
has tended to produce endless local studies, which should ref lect local contexts, but end up
looking very similar (Lange, 2010).
Second, much PD has treated communities as socially homogeneous (Robins et al. , 2008).
While community empowerment might be an improvement on unresponsive bureaucracies,
there have been cases where support for the community has meant that resources have
passed to elites.

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Participatory development
Third, the emphasis on civil society can create competition and overlap between local
organizations. With aid being channelled through such organizations, it is the better organ-
ized or more acceptable which capture resources, often those run by and for middle classes.
The result is that weaker organizations or those more genuinely championing the poor are
further undermined. Allied to this is that many partnerships between northern and south-
ern NGOs are heavily loaded in favour of the former. Such problems are repeated when the
relationships are not NGO-to-NGO but state-to-NGO, for as Lange (2010) shows, partici-
patory schemes in Tanzania established parallel political structures which by-passed local
government actors and institutions who are, despite all the weaknesses of electoral democ-
racy, accountable to local people.
Fourth is whether participation is an end in itself or also a means to an end. From a dem-
ocratic perspective, simply being able to participate is a major achievement, but for the poor
their lack of resources means that any participatory process must yield tangible benefits.
Furthermore, as Brett (2003) warns, simply participating is meaningless unless there is some
institutionalized accountability. He argues that we should focus on the nature of the institu-
tional constraints that determine how much leverage users can exercise over agencies,
whether these operate in the state, market or voluntary sector (Brett, 2003: 18).
The final problem is broader and relates to the causes of underdevelopment. PD seeks to
give local people control, but many processes affecting their (or our) lives are often not read-
ily tackled at the local level. For example, it is very hard for a small cooperative in Africa to
change the rules governing international trade when the World Trade Organization is dom-
inated by the developed economies. The emphasis on grassroots society can leave important
structures untouched and do nothing to strengthen states and make them more accountable
to their citizens (Green, 2010).
Taken together these operational critiques of participation add up to a depoliticization of
the idea. It promises some quite radical approaches to development but ends up disconnecting
genuine needs and political struggles from circumscribed interventions of development
agents. It is, as Murray Li argues (cited in Green, 2010: 1251) about rendering technical the
conf lictual realities of poverty and its amelioration.
Citizenship and the future of participatory development
It becomes clear that while PD has brought benefits to some communities it has been abused
and does little to address extra-local processes. This recognition that development will involve
broader questions of citizenship and sovereignty has been part of the inclusive liberalism,
which sees agencies building the capacity of the state rather than bypassing it and empowering
civil society (Golooba-Mutebi and Hickey, 2010). This involves bolstering citizenship.
This reframing of participation as citizenship gained ground from the turn of the millen-
nium and situates PD in a broader range of sociopolitical practices, or expressions of agency
(Gaventa, 2002), through which people extend their status and rights as members of particu-
lar political communities, thereby increasing their control over socioeconomic resources.
This unites a liberal theory of citizenship, stressing formal rights and political channels,
with civic republican approaches that emphasize the collective engagement of citizens in the
determination of their community affairs. The focus here is on substantive rather than pro-
cedural forms of citizenship, a participatory notion that offers the prospect that citizenship
can be claimed from below through the efforts of the marginalized.
While the citizenship turn promised to break from the voluntarism of PD as discussed
above, it too suffers from depoliticization and neoliberal co-option. In many cases

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citizenship action was reduced to being a consumer within a market and so undermined
communal notions of rights and moralities (Dagnino, 2008). Like PD it tended to imagine a
pure world of citizenship where the poor could relatively straightforwardly secure access to
state services (Robins et al. , 2008).
The reality for the poor in the global South is one of indeterminancy and struggle which
means that singular and theoretically pure forms of political practice are impossible. As Robins
et al. (2008: 1079) argue In the scramble for livelihoods and security, poor people tend to adopt
plural strategies; they occupy multiple spaces and draw on multiple political identities, discourses
and social relationships, often simultaneously. It is in these multiple practices that the poor can
leverage gains from more formal participatory schemes as Corbidge (2007) and Golooba-Mutebi
and Hickey (2010) note. In turn, this means we should not necessarily ditch PD based on a uni-
versal condemnation of its depoliticizing effects, but rather, as Lazarus (2008) notes, start with
the political realities of poor people and not a normative ideal, however well-meaning.
References
Brett, E. A. (2003) Participation and accountability in development management, Journal of Develop-
ment Studies , 40(2): 129.
Chambers, R. (1997) Whose Reality Counts? Putting the First Last , London: Intermediate Technology
Publications.
Connell, R. (2007) Southern Theory: The Global Dynamics of Knowledge in Social Science , London: Polity
Press.
Corbridge, S. (2007) The (im)possibility of development studies, Economy and Society , 36(2): 179211.
Cornwall, A. (2002a) Beneficiary, Consumer, Citizen: Perspectives on Participation for Poverty Reduction ,
SIDA Studies no. 2, Stockholm: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
Cornwall, A. (2002b) Making spaces, changing places: Situating participation in development, IDS
Working Paper 170. Brighton: Institute of Development Studies.
Dagnino, E. (2008) Challenges to participation, citizenship and democracy: Perverse conf luence and
displacement of meanings, in A. J. Bebbington, S. Hickey, and D. Mitlin (eds) Can NGOs Make a
Difference? The Challenge of Development Alternative , London: Zed Books, 5570.
Esteva, G. and Prakash, M. (1998) Grassroots Post-Modernism: Remaking the Soil of Cultures , London: Zed
Books.
Freire, P. (1970) The Pedagogy of the Oppressed , New York: The Seabury Press.
Fung, A. (2004) Empowered Participation: Reinventing Urban Democracy , Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press.
Gaventa, J. (2002) Exploring citizenship, participation and accountability, IDS Bulletin , 33(2): 111.
Golooba-Mutebi, F. and Hickey, S. (2010) Governing chronic poverty under inclusive liberalism: The
case of the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund, Journal of Development Studies , 46(7): 12161239.
Green, M. (2010) Making development agents: Participation as boundary object in international
development, Journal of Development Studies , 46(7): 12401263.
Hickey, S. and Mohan, G. (2005) Relocating participation within a radical politics of development,
Development and Change , 36(2): 237262.
Lange, S. (2010) The depoliticisation of development and the democratisation of politics in Tanzania:
Parallel structures as obstacles to delivering services to the poor, Journal of Development Studies ,
44(8): 11221144.
Lazarus, J. (2008) Participation in poverty reduction strategy papers: Reviewing the past, assessing the
present and predicting the future, Third World Quarterly , 29(6): 12051221.
Nelson, N. and Wright, S. (1995) Participation and power, in N. Nelson and S. Wright (eds) Power and
Participatory Development: Theory and Practice , London: Intermediate Technology Publications, 118.
Robins, S., Cornwall, A. and von Lieres, B. (2008) Rethinking citizenship in the postcolony, Third
World Quarterly , 29(6): 10691086.
Shah, A. (1997) Developing participation, PLA Notes , 30: 758.
Shakya, Y. and Rankin, K. (2008) The politics of subversion in development practice: An exploration
of microfinance in Nepal and Vietnam, Journal of Development Studies , 44(8): 12141235.

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Postcolonialism

2.11

Postcolonialism

Cheryl McEwan
What is postcolonialism?
Postcolonialism is a difficult and contested term not least because it is far from clear that
colonialism has been relegated to the past. Its meaning is not limited to after-colonialism or
after-independence, but refers to ways of criticizing the material and discursive legacies of
colonialism (Radcliffe, 1999: 84). Broadly speaking, therefore, postcolonial perspectives can
be said to be anti-colonial. They have become increasingly important across a range of disci-
plines over the last 20 years.
A number of core issues underpin postcolonial approaches. First, they stress the need to
destabilize the dominant discourses of imperial Europe (e.g. history, philosophy, linguistics
and development), which are unconsciously ethnocentric, rooted in European cultures and
ref lective of a dominant Western worldview. Postcolonial studies problematize the very ways
in which the world is known, challenging the unacknowledged and unexamined assump-
tions at the heart of European and American disciplines that are profoundly insensitive to the
meanings, values and practices of other cultures.
Second, postcolonial critiques challenge the experiences of speaking and writing by which
dom i n a nt d iscou r ses come i nto bei ng. For ex a mple, a ter m such a s the Th i rd World  homog -
enizes peoples and countries and carries other associations  economic backwardness, the
failure to develop economic and political order, and connotations of a binary contest between
us and them, self  and other  which are often inscribed in development writings. These
practices of naming are not innocent. Rather they are part of the process of worlding (Spi-
vak, 1990), or setting apart certain parts of the world from others. Said (1978) has shown how
knowledge is a form of power, and by implication violence; it gives authority to the possessor
of knowledge. Knowledge has been, and to a large extent still is, controlled and produced in
the West. Global economic power might be starting to shift, but the power to name, repre-
sent and theorize is still located in the West, a fact which postcolonialism seeks to disrupt.
Third, postcolonialism invokes an explicit critique of the spatial metaphors and temporal-
ity employed in Western discourses. Whereas previous designations of the Third World sig-
nalled both spatial and temporal distance  out there and back there  a postcolonial
perspective insists that the other world is in here. The Third World is integral to what the
West refers to as modernity and progress. It contributes directly to the economic wealth
of Western countries through its labour and economic exploitation. In addition, the modal-
ities and aesthetics of the Third World have partially constituted Western languages and
cultures. Postcolonialism, therefore, attempts to rewrite the hegemonic accounting of time
(history) and the spatial distribution of knowledge (power) that constructs the Third World.
Finally, postcolonialism attempts to recover the lost historical and contemporary voices
of the marginalized, the oppressed and the dominated through a radical reconstruction of

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138
Theories and strategies of development
history and knowledge production. Postcolonial theory has developed this radical edge through
the works of scholars such as Spivak and Said who, in various ways, have sought to recover the
agency and resistance of peoples subjugated by both colonialism and neo-colonialism.
These core issues form the fabric of the complex field of inquiry of postcolonial studies,
based in the historical fact of European colonialism and the diverse material effects to which
this phenomenon has given rise.
Postcolonialism and development
The possibility of producing a truly decolonized, postcolonial knowledge in development stud-
ies became a subject of considerable debate during the 1990s, culminating in new dialogue
between the two approaches that continues today. In theoretical terms, postcolonialism has
been greatly inf luenced by Marxism and post-structuralism, drawing on the political-economy
approaches of the former and the cultural and linguistic analyses of the latter. The politics of
postcolonialism diverge sharply from other discourses and, although it shares similarities with
dependency theories, its radicalism rejects established agendas and accustomed ways of seeing.
This means that postcolonialism is a powerful critique of development and an increasingly
important challenge to dominant ways of apprehending NorthSouth relations.
Critiquing discourses of development
Postcolonialism challenges the very meaning of development as rooted in colonial discourse
depicting the North as advanced and progressive and the South as backward, degenerate and
primitive. Early postcolonial writers, such as Van der Post, challenged this assumption by
referring to hunter-gatherers as the first aff luent peoples. Postcolonialism has prompted ques-
tions about whether such indigenous systems of equity, reciprocity and communalism are
more advantageous to peoples of the South than the pursuit of capitalism, with its emphasis on
individual wealth and incorporation into the global economy. The superiority of modern
industrialization and technological progress is increasingly questioned, creating alternative
knowledges to reshape perceptions of non-Western societies and their environments.
Critics argue that to subject development to postcolonial critique is a form of intellectual
faddism; as long as there are pressing mater ial issues such as povert y in the world, concerns with
the language of development are esoteric. However, language is fundamental to the way we
order, understand, intervene and justify those interventions (Escobar, 1995a). As Crush argues,
postcolonialism offers new ways of understanding what development is and does, and why it is
so difficult to think beyond it. The texts of development are written in a representational lan-
guage  metaphors, images, allusion, fantasy and rhetoric  the imagined worlds bearing little
resemblance to the real world. Development writing often produces and reproduces misrep-
resentation. Postcolonialism seeks to remove negative stereotypes about people and places from
such discourses. It challenges us to rethink categories such as Third World and Third World
women, and to understand how location, economic role, social dimensions of identity and the
global political economy differentiate between groups and their opportunities for development.
As Crush suggests, the texts of development are avowedly strategic and tactical, promoting
and justifying certain interventions and delegitimizing and excluding others. Power relations
are clearly implied in this process; certain forms of knowledge are dominant and others are
excluded. The texts of development contain silences. It is important to ask who is silenced,
and why? Ideas about development are not produced in a social, institutional or literary vacuum.
A postcolonial approach to development literature, therefore, can say a great deal about the

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apparatuses of power and domination within which those texts are produced, circulated and
consumed. Development discourse promotes and justifies real interventions with material
consequences. It is, therefore, imperative to explore the links between the words, practices
and institutional expressions of development, and between the relations of power that order
the world and the words and images that represent the world. By doing so, postcolonial
approaches have possibilities for effecting change.
Agency in development
Postcolonialism challenges the notion of a single path to development and demands acknowl-
edgement of a diversity of perspectives and priorities. The politics of defining and satisfying
needs is a crucial dimension of current development thought, to which the concept of agency
is central. Postcolonial approaches question who voices the development concern, what
power relations are played out, how participants identities and structural roles in local and
global societies shape their priorities, and which voices are excluded as a result? They attempt
to overcome inequality by opening up spaces for the enactment of agency by non-Western
peoples. However, poverty and a lack of technology make this increasingly difficult;
non-Western academics, for example, rarely have the same access to books and technologies
of communication as their Western counterparts.
Despite this, postcolonial critique has led to a questioning of authorization and authority. By
what right and on whose authority does one claim to speak on behalf of others? On whose terms
is space created in which they are allowed to speak? Are we merely trying to incorporate and
subsume non-Western voices into our own canons? It is no longer feasible to represent the peo-
ples of the Third World as passive, helpless victims. Their voices are now being heard, and their
ideas are increasingly being incorporated into grassroots development policies. Postcolonial crit-
ics have also had impact on development studies, particularly within gender and development.
They have forced a move away from totalizing discourses and a singular feminism (based upon
the vantage point of white, middle-class Western feminists, which failed to acknowledge the
differences between women) towards the creation of spaces where the voices of black women
and women from the South can be heard (see, for example, Mohanty, 1988; McEwan, 2001).
Postcolonial feminisms allow for competing and disparate voices among women, rather than
reproducing colonialist power relations where knowledge is produced and received in the West,
and white, middle-class women have the power to speak for their silenced sisters in the South.
New dialogues and approaches in development
One of the major criticisms of postcolonialism has been that it is too theoretical and not
rooted enough in material concerns; emphasis on discourse detracts from an assessment of
material ways in which colonial power relations persist; consequently, postcolonialism is
ignorant of the real problems characterizing everyday life in the global South. However,
recent work at the interface of postcolonialism and development actively refutes these
charges. Postcolonial critiques of economic development, challenge the amnesia about (neo)
colonialism within development and question its blind loyalty to scientific progress and uni-
versal economic prescriptions (Kapoor, 2008; McEwan, 2009). Fundamental questions, rooted
in both postcolonial and political-economic theory, are being asked about how capitalism
reproduces inequality in the name of development and how it is that the deepening of
capitalist social relations comes to be taken as development (Wainwright, 2008). Clearly,
postcolonialism does not concede the space of materiality  the provisioning of livelihoods,

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140
Theories and strategies of development
tangible constraints on life, relations of production and distribution  to economics (Pollard
et al ., 2011). Rather, it suggests radically different ways of understanding and responding to
these issues. Economists, economic models and dominant/orthodox notions of development
erase the richness of human agency and experience in response to economic and other crises
through their drive to produce development aggregates, which then often fail to produce
adequate responses to these crises. In contrast, postcolonial approaches emphasize the need to
understand development through the eyes of local people who are making daily livelihood
decisions in situations of conflict, despair, uncertainty, ambivalence, hope and resistance
(Sylvester, 2011). This different approach is producing innovation in the sources and methods
used within development studies. This includes the reading of postcolonial stories (e.g.
novels in the case of Sylvester (2011), or poetry in the case of Madge and Eshun (2013)) as part
of development theory, training and practice in the field as a means of understanding the
thoughts and actions of those subject to development interventions.
Postcolonialism is a significant advancement in development studies. It demonstrates how
the production of Western knowledge forms is inseparable from the exercise of Western power.
It also attempts to loosen the power of Western knowledge and reassert the value of alternative
experiences and ways of knowing (Thiongo, 1986; Bhabha, 1994). It articulates some difficult
questions about writing the history of development, about imperialist representations and
discourses surrounding the Third World, and about the institutional practices of development
itself. It has the potential to turn critique of conventional development into productive
re-learning to see and reassess the reality of the global South (Escobar, 2001, 153). It has been
an important stimulus to alternative formulations such as indigenous and alternative moder-
nities and rights-based approaches to development (Simon, 2006). And, precisely because of
their divergent traditions, increasing dialogue between postcolonialism and development stud-
ies offers new ways of conceptualizing and doing development (Sylvester, 2006).
Postcolonialism has an expansive understanding of the potentialities of agency. It shares a
social optimism with other discourses, such as gender and sexuality in Western countries,
and rethinking here has helped generate substantial changes in political practice. Emerging
dialogues between postcolonialism and development studies have the potential to engage
postcolonial theory in considering questions of inequality of power and control of resources,
human rights, global exploitation of labour, child prostitution and genocide, helping to
translate the theoretical insights of postcolonialism into action on the ground and a means of
tackling the power imbalances between North and South. They might also inspire critical
reshaping of postcolonial futures and counter new forms of orientalism that continue to dis-
advantage the developing world. The challenge now, as Simon (2006) contends, is to link
postcolonialist concerns with local identities, practices and agendas to broader campaigns and
projects for progressive and radical change that are substantively postcolonial and critically
developmental. This is beginning to emerge with new NorthSouth alliances, alternative
and progressive trading structures such as fair and ethical trade, and critical analysis of the
role of agencies and institutions. Therefore, despite the seeming impossibility of transform-
ing NorthSouth relations by the politics of difference and agency alone, postcolonialism is
a much-needed corrective to the Eurocentrism and conservatism of much writing on devel-
opment. It is playing an important role in re-imagining critical development studies and
generating new dialogue and action. Through its focus on the politics of knowledge produc-
tion and problematizing power relations between different actors engaged in the develop-
ment nexus, it is also revivifying within development studies a longstanding concern with
the moral imperatives underpinning development research, the ethics of research, and an
ethos of solidarity with others (McEwan, 2009).

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Bibliography
Bhabha, H. (1994) The Location of Culture , London: Routledge.
Escobar, A. (1995b) Imagining a post-development era, in J. Crush, (ed.) Power of Development ,
London: Routledge, pp. 21127.
Escobar, A. (2001) Culture sits in places: Ref lections on globalism and subaltern strategies of localiza-
tion. Political Geography 20: 13974.
Kapoor, I. (2008) The Postcolonial Politics of Development , London: Routledge.
Madge, C. and Eshun, G. (2013)  Now let me share this with you: Exploring poetry for postcolonial
geography research. Antipode 44(4): 13951428.
McEwan, C. (2001) Postcolonialism, feminism and development: Intersections and dilemmas, Progress
in Developing Studies 1(2): 93111.
Mohanty, C. (1988) Under Western eyes: Feminist scholarship and colonial discourses, Feminist
Review 30: 6188.
Pollard, J., McEwan, C. and Hughes, A. (eds) (2011) Postcolonial Economies , London: Zed.
Radcliffe, S. (1999) Re-thinking development, in P. Cloke, P. Crang and M. Goodwin (eds) Introduc-
ing Human Geographies , London: Arnold, pp. 8491.
Said, E. (1978) Orientalism , London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Simon, D. (2006) Separated by common ground? Bringing (post)development and (post)colonialism
together, The Geographical Journal 172(1): 1021.
Spivak, G. (1990) The Postcolonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogue , London: Routledge.
Spivak, G. (1999) A Critique of Postcolonial Reason , Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Sylvester, C. (2006) Bare life as a development/postcolonial problematic, The Geographical Journal
172(1): 66 77.
Sylvester, C. (2011) Development and postcolonial takes on biopolitics and economy, in J. Pollard,
C. McEwan and A. Hughes (eds) Postcolonial Economies , London: Zed, pp. 185204.
Thiongo, Ngugi wa (1986) Decolonising the Mind , London: James Curry.
Wainwright, J. (2008) Decolonizing Development , Oxford: Blackwell.
Guide to Further Reading
Crush, J. (ed.) (1995) Power of Development , London: Routledge. A collection of essays exploring the lan-
guage of development, its rhetoric and meaning within different political and institutional contexts.
Escobar, A. (1995a) Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World , Princeton,
NJ: Princeton University Press. A provocative analysis of development discourse and practice.
The Geographical Journal (2006) Postcolonialism and development: New dialogues, special issue, 172(1):
677.
McEwan, C. (2009) Postcolonialism and Development , London: Routledge. A comprehensive account of
the significance of postcolonial theory within development theory and practice.
Schwarz, H. and Ray, S. (eds) (2005) A Companion to Postcolonial Studies , Oxford: Blackwell. A wide-
ranging volume of essays by leading postcolonial scholars that cuts across themes, regions, theories
and practices of postcolonial study.
Websites
http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/. UK website of the Fairtrade Foundation, which aims to offer independent
guarantees that disadvantaged producers in the developing world are getting a better deal.
http://www.fsm2013.org/en. Website of the World Social Forum, where social movements, networks, NGOs
and other civil society organizations opposed to neoliberalism and all forms of imperialism come
together to share and debate ideas and to network for effective action.
http://us.oneworld.net/. US website that encourages people to discover their power to speak, connect,
and make a difference by providing access to information and enabling connections between thou-
sands of organizations and millions of people around the world.
http://web.worldbank.org/wbsite/external/countries/africaext/extindknowledge/0,,menuPK:
825562~pagePK:64168427~piPK:64168435~theSitePK:825547,00.html. The World Banks website
on indigenous knowledge and its role in the development process.

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Theories and strategies of development

2.12

Postmodernism and

development

David Simon
Postmodernism: Panacea, placebo or perversity?
Postmodernism became a major social scientific theoretical paradigm during the 1980s and
1990s, although its popularity has now waned. In development studies it gained prominence
as one of the routes for transcending the so-called theoretical impasse that emerged in the
mid- to late 1980s. However, the concept assumed diverse meanings, a factor contributing
substantially to the often heated but unenlightening debates over its usefulness in the context
of development.
The raft of new development textbooks appearing since the late 1990s, when such debate
was at its zenith, has devoted surprisingly little attention to postmodernism (Simon, 1999:
3843). Some make no mention of it or of other post- or anti-developmentalist approaches
at all, while others include only a few pages or a single chapter, almost as an afterthought.
Very few give fuller coverage, with the result that most current students continue to have
little exposure to these debates.
Postmodernism first emerged in art, architecture and literature in the mid-1970s. The
concepts of ideals, absolutes, order and harmonization, which had given rise to increas-
ing alienation of the individual, were challenged, and the objective became a celebration
of diverse forms and sharp contrasts, in order to rupture conventional expectations. This
is generally achieved through the juxtaposition of radically different styles in street
faades.
In Latin America, writers like Gabriel Garca Mrquez and Carlos Fuentes pioneered a
literary style that broke with the established tradition of a single, chronological f low to nov-
els, and replaced it with multiple, cross-cutting strands, f lashbacks, forward leaps and pre-
views in structurally much more complex forms. It won the authors prizes but has not proven
a durable literary form.
In the social sciences, postmodernism gained a foothold as part of the ferment in dis-
course that included post-structuralist rejection of modernist meta-theories and grand nar-
ratives of a single mode of explanation or truth. Ahluwalia (2010) demonstrates that
post-structuralism derives from a complex blend of colonial, anti-colonial and postcolonial
roots, strongly linked to the Algerian liberation struggle. The work of Michel Foucault,
Henri Lefebvre, Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard and Frederic Jameson looms large in the
foundations of postmodernism. Among the most widely reputed social scientific accounts
of postmodernism are those of Jean-Franois Lyotard (1984), David Harvey (1989) and
Ed Soja (1991). They situate it explicitly within the (cultural) logic of late capitalism, as
part of the search for profit accumulation in a context of globalized production and

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Postmodernism and development
consumption. As such, they are critical and see it as having limited social explanatory
value, serving mainly to justify conspicuous self-expression, rather than representing a
profound new paradigm.
Significantly, several leading advocates of postmodernism and postcolonialism in cultural
studies, sociology and allied disciplines, including Homi Bhabha, Trin Minha, Gyatri Spivak
and the late Edward Said, hail from the global South, even though generally now working
in Northern universities. Among geographers, sociologists and development specialists, and
especially those working in Latin America, some of the most trenchant critics of conven-
tional development espoused postmodernism as the way forward during the 1990s  in par-
ticular, Santiago Cols, Arturo Escobar, Gustavo Esteva and David Slater. However, the
book that established Escobars (1995) anti-development reputation is principally a critique of
the development project, offering little insight into a revisioned future beyond an invoca-
t ion of new socia l movement s. By cont ra st, Col s (1994) inter pret s post moder n development s
in different spheres of Argentinian society, while Esteva and Prakash (1998) provide one of
the very few detailed expositions of regional and local-level postmodernism in practice as
social action. Slater (1992, 1997) has taken forward geopolitical and development debates
across the NorthSouth divide. Other authors have been cautious about the relevance of
postmodernism relative to postcolonialism. Escobars more recent work has moved substan-
tially beyond anti-development, forming part of the increasing consensus around the need
for alternative approaches, or post-development (see Simon, 2007).
Nevertheless, most social scientists working in, or concerned with, poor regions of the world
have tended to ignore postmodernism or to dismiss it as an irrelevance on the grounds that:
  • Postmodernism literally means after the modern; however, in the global South, the majority of people are still poor and struggling to meet basic needs and to enjoy the fruits of modernization so power fully held up to them as the outcome of development. In such situations, modernity has yet to be widely achieved, so that which follows on from the modern can have little relevance.
  • Postmodernism was merely a temporarily fashionable Northern paradigm, which found expression mainly in aesthetic/architectural terms and as playful, leisured heterodoxes and new forms of consumption centred on individualism, which can best be described as self-indulgence by the well-off. Such preoccupations are seen as irrelevant to the global South, if not actually harmful in terms of distracting attention from the urgent prior- ities of the poor majority, namely survival, the ability to meet basic needs and related development agendas, as well as the broader structural forces and processes which impact upon them.
A conceptual schema
The following typology distinguishes the different connotations of postmodernism/postmodernity
in order to facilitate understanding. Postmodernity describes the condition or manifestation,
while postmodernism is the ideology or intellectual practice. At least three broad interpreta-
tions of the postmodern can be distinguished in the vast and multidisciplinary literatures.
The chronological approach
This is the most literal interpretation, in terms of which the postmodern necessarily follows
the modern. In practice, however, no clean break between eras can be distinguished: there

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Theories and strategies of development
was no dramatic event to act as signifier, and there has been no agreement on the basis of
transition. At best, one might be able to conceptualize a transitional phase of some years
duration.
In terms of globalization and mass consumption, for instance, the traditional mass-market
air package holiday would be modern, whereas the more differentiated and personalized
small-group luxury tour, complete with ecotourist credentials and/or sanitized versions of
conf lictual local histories in distant countries for the benefit of international tourists, might
be conceived of as postmodern.
The aesthetic approach
The second basic understanding of postmodernism is as a form of expression in the creative
and aesthetic disciplines like art, architecture and literature. This perspective ref lects the
considerations  and is exemplified by the authors  cited in the introduction. Inevitably,
perhaps, most such attention has been centred on elite and middle-class consumption, espe-
cially in terms of leisure activities but also increasingly in the working environment and
public spaces. Terms most frequently associated with this movement include pastiche,
mlange, playfulness, commodity-signs, imaginaries, and spectacles. Theme parks, pleasure
domes and other purpose-built leisure complexes that offer decontextualized timespace
representations of various places and experiences (Featherstone, 1995; Watson and Gibson,
1995), often in sanitized form, are characteristic of this approach in much the same way as
great exhibitions of global exploration, scientific discoveries and industrial achievements
were hallmarks of Victorian modernity.
Postmodernism as intellectual practice
The approach of postmodernism as problematique or intellectual practice is the most rele-
vant from the perspective of development studies. Here, the postmodern supposedly
represents fundamentally different ways of seeing, knowing and representing the world.
The modern approach, rooted in Enlightenment thinking about rationality, is concerned
with a search for universal truths, linked to positivist scientific methodology and
neo-classical economics. Such universalizing, globalizing approaches are referred to as
meta-narratives.
Postmodern practice rejects such singular explanations in favour of multiple, divergent
and overlapping interpretations and views. Simplicity should give way to complexity
and pluralism, in terms of which these different accounts are all accorded legitimacy. The
privileging of official and formal discourses should be replaced by approaches lending
credence to both the official and unofficial, formal and informal, dominant and subordi-
nate, central and marginal groups, and to their discourses and agendas. Top-down devel-
opment, so closely associated with official national and international agendas of
modernization, has been discredited over a long period (but nevertheless still proves
remarkably persistent); instead, bottom-up approaches or some hybr id of the t wo should be
encouraged.
Hence, postmodernism represents a potentially fruitful approach for addressing the
conf lictual and divergent agendas of social groups, be it in relation to access to produc-
tive resources and/or the bases for accumulating social power, mediating the impacts of
large development schemes, evolving complementary medical services that harness the
most appropriate elements from both Western and indigenous systems, or addressing

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Postmodernism and development
longstanding conf licts between statutory and customary legal systems (Esteva and
Prakash, 1998; Simon, 1998, 1999). Empowerment of the poor and powerless should be
the objective.
Such discourses have much in common with earlier, liberal pluralism, basic needs and
grassroots development paradigms, although the emphasis on coexistence and multiple modes
of explanation is different. Equally, there are considerable areas of overlap with some strands
of postcolonialism, which is centrally concerned with the cultural politics and identities of
previously subordinated groups.
Extreme postmodernism can become almost indistinguishable from anarchism, in that all
forms of social or collective action prove impossible due to the inability to agree  or even to
conceive of agreeing  on any shared rationality or basic rules of what is, and is not, accept-
able behaviour. Extreme relativism means that everyones views are equally valid; without
some decision-making rules, any social action not gaining unanimity or consensus becomes
impossible.
Accordingly and because of the emphasis by some authors on playful, leisured self-
fulfilment, postmodernism is sometimes criticized as a conservative ideology embedded
within late capitalism  and hence rejected. Somewhat prematurely, Ley (2003) even wrote
its epitaph because of its perceived fad status and because of problems operationalizing it in
meaningful distinction from the modern, meaning recent or present-day. Postmodernism
may indeed have lost much of its social scientific prominence since the early 2000s in
favour of the closely related umbrella term of postcolonialism, but that does not deny that it
retains much of value, especially in terms of understanding contemporary social dynamics
and complexities. Gabardis (2001) articulation of critical postmodernism not only as a
product of the modern-postmodern debate, but also as a theoretical and ideological response
to our current late modern/postmodern transition and a practical tool for negotiating this
transition (p. xxi) remains one of the most detailed and spirited articulations of that
perspective.
Conclusion
Postmodern discourses arose within changing intellectual and geopolitical circumstances.
Its multiple uses and meanings have contributed to confusion and misinterpretation. It
found favour among some leading artistic and intellectual voices, who contributed greatly
to its refinement and prominence. However, it is also true that many Northern writers link-
ing postmodernism to globalization and other politico-economic changes have, either
implicitly or explicitly, simply assumed their Northern research and arguments to have
global relevance.
Moderate forms of postmodern intellectual practice do indeed have global relevance in
the cause of problem analysis, development promotion and empowerment. They lend legiti-
macy to different social groups and their voices rather than merely seeking a compatible
mouthpiece to support external interventions in the name of development. This may help
to transcend the shortcomings of discredited official rapid modernization as development
and to facilitate local communities to develop according to their own conceptions, governed
by acceptable rules of conduct. Such processes are not free from conf lict, nor can nostalgia
for long-dead traditions and heritages substitute for tackling present-day problems imagina-
tively in relation to todays dynamic realities (Simon, 2007).
Extreme postmodernism is unduly relativistic and permissive; it may preclude any social
contract or action and should be rejected.

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References
Ahluwalia, P. (2010) Out of Africa: Post-structuralisms Colonial Roots , London: Routledge.
Cols, S. (1994) Postmodernity in Latin America: The Argentine Paradigm , Durham, NC: Duke University
Press.
Escobar, A. (1995) Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World , Princeton:
Princeton University Press.
Esteva, G. and Prakash, M. S. (1998) Grassroots Postmodernism: Remaking the Soil of Cultures , London:
Zed Books.
Featherstone, M. (1995) Undoing Culture: Globalization, Postmodernism and Identity , London: Sage.
Gabardi, W. (2001) Negotiating Postmodernism , Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press.
Harvey, D. (1989) The Condition of Postmodernity , Oxford: Blackwell.
Ley, D. (2003) Forgetting postmodernism? Recuperating a social history of local knowledge, Progress
in Human Geography 27(5): 537560.
Lyotard, J.-F. (1984) The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge , Minneapolis: Minnesota Univer-
sity Press.
Simon, D. (1998) Rethinking (post)modernism, postcolonialism and posttraditionalism: SouthNorth
perspectives, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 16(2): 219245.
Simon, D. (1999) Development revisited: Thinking about, practising and teaching development after
the cold war, in D. Simon and A. Nrman (eds) Development as Theory and Practice: Current Perspec-
tives on Development and Development Co-operation , Harlow: Longman.
Simon, D. (2007) Beyond anti-development: Discourses, convergences, practices, Singapore Journal of
Tropical Geography 28(2): 205218.
Slater, D. (1992) Theories of development and politics of the post-modern  exploring a border zone,
Development and Change 23(3): 283319.
Slater, D. (1997) Spatialities of power and postmodern ethics  rethinking geopolitical encounters,
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 15(1): 5572.
Soja, E. (1991) Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory , London: Verso.
Watson, S. and Gibson, K. (eds) (1995) Postmodern Cities and Spaces , Oxford: Blackwell.
Further reading
Esteva, G. and Prakash, M. S. (1998) Grassroots Postmodernism: Remaking the Soil of Cultures , London:
Zed Books. An extended treatment of postmodern practice, linking new social movements, grass-
roots organizations and regionally based rebellions against inequitable and oppressive governments
in Latin America and Asia.
Harvey, D. (1989) The Condition of Postmodernity , Oxford: Blackwell. This remains an important refer-
ence guide to postmodernity as a function of late capitalism, although focused on the North.
Simon, D. (1998) Rethinking (post)modernism, postcolonialism and posttraditionalism: SouthNorth
perspectives, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 16(2): 219245. A detailed exposition of
the themes outlined here.
Slater, D. (1997) Spatialities of power and postmodern ethics  rethinking geopolitical encounters,
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 15(1): 5572. Explores post-cold war geopolitical
change and its implications across the NorthSouth divide, including postmodern concerns for
distant strangers.
Watson, S. and Gibson, K. (eds) (1995) Postmodern Cities and Spaces , Oxford: Blackwell. An important
collection of essays, addressing different approaches to postmodernism in Northern and Southern
urban contexts.

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Post-development

2.13

Post-development

James D. Sidaway
Instead of the kingdom of abundance promised by theorists and politicians in the 1950s,
the discourse and strategy of development produced its opposite: massive underdevelop-
ment and impoverishment, untold exploitation and repression. The debt crisis, the Sahe-
lian famine, increasing poverty, malnutrition, and violence are only the most pathetic
signs of the failure of forty years of development.
(Escobar, 1995: 4)
Development occupies the centre of an incredibly powerful semantic constellation... at
the same time, very few words are as feeble, as fragile and as incapable of giving sub-
stance and meaning to thought and behavior.
(Esteva, 1992: 8)
Along with anti-development and beyond development, post-development is a radical
reaction to the dilemmas of development. Perplexity and extreme dissatisfaction with
business-as-usual and standard development rhetoric and practice, and disillusionment
with alternative development are keynotes of this perspective. Development is rejected
because it is the new religion of the West... it is the imposition of science as power...
it does not work... it means cultural Westernisation and homogenisation... and it
brings environmental destruction. It is rejected not merely on account of its results but
because of its intentions, its world-view and mindset. The economic mindset implies a
reductionist view of existence. Thus, according to Sachs, it is not the failure of devel-
opment which has to be feared, but its success (1992: 3).
(Nederveen Pieterse, 2000: 175)
Jan Nederveen Pieterse goes on to explain how, from these critical perspectives, develop-
ment has often required the loss of indigenous culture, or the destruction of environmentally
and psychologically rich and rewarding modes of life. Development is also criticized as a par-
ticular vision that is neither benign nor innocent. It reworks, but is never entirely beyond prior
colonial discourses (see Kothari, 2005). Development comprises a set of knowledges, interven-
tions and worldviews (in short a discourse) and hence powers  to intervene, to transform
and to rule. It embodies a geopolitics (see Slater, 1993), in that its origins are bound up with
Western power and strategy for the Third World, enacted and implemented through local
elites. Therefore, American power and the cold war containment of communism structured
the meaning of development in the second half of the twentieth century, and were associated
with ideas of modernization (see Engerman et al ., 2003). Such modernization strategies have

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148
Theories and strategies of development
deeper roots in American prototypes from earlier in the century (see Ekbladh, 2010; Sewell,
2010). Western agencies, charities and consultants long dominated developments agendas (see
Jackson, 2005; Stirrat, 2000, 2008). Development came to the fore during the cold war as
a powerful combination of policy, action and understanding. Related to concepts of anti-
development and postcolonial criticisms, post-development arose in the 1990s as a critique of
the standard assumptions about progress, who possessed the keys to it and how it might be
implemented. Such critique also proved suggestive for those studying the politics of local and
regional development in Western Europe (see Donaldson, 2006).
Of course, as a number of people have pointed out, many of the critiques associated with
post-development reformulate scepticisms and calls for alternatives that have long been evi-
dent. According to Marshall Berman (1983), an example is the myth of Faust, which crops up
repeatedly in European cultures. Faust is a man who would develop the world and himself, but
must also destroy all that lies in his path to this goal and all who would resist him. The myth
of Faust, who sells his soul for the earthly power to develop, bears witness to a very long his-
tory of critics of progress and modernity. Throughout the twentieth century, populist ideas of
sel f-rel iance and f u l f i l l ing  basic need s have a lso been scept ica l of many of the claims of devel-
opment, particularly when the latter takes the forms of industrialization and urbanization (see
Kitching, 1989). Subsequently, the history of ideas of dependency has been, in part, a rejection
of Western claims of development as a universal panacea to be implemented in a grateful Third
World. From Latin American roots (see Kay, 1989), dependency ideas were widely dissemi-
nated and sometimes took the form of a rejection of Western modernization/development as
corrupting and destructive (see Blomstrom and Hettne, 1984; Leys, 1996; Rist, 1997) or as a
continuation of colonial forms of domination (Rodney, 1972). In particular, writers from
predominately Islamic countries (most notably Iran) saw the obsession with development as
part of a misplaced intoxification with the West (see Dabashi, 1993). Either way, the Third
World was not simply a passive recipient of development, but became a project and site for
liberation and struggle (Prashad, 2007; Sidaway, 2007). Likewise, more conventional Marxist
accounts have long pointed to the combined and uneven character of development and its
highly contradictory consequences (see Lowy, 1980). Feminist writings have also criticized
the ways in which the so-called Third World woman is represented as needing development
and Western-style liberation (Mohanty, 1988), and have opened up alternative ways of con-
ceptualizing the economic and social change of development.
Some critics have therefore complained that post-development was never really beyond,
outside or subsequent to development discourse. In this view, post-development was merely
the latest version of a set of criticisms that have long been evident within writing and thinking
about development (Curry, 2003; Kiely, 1999). Development has always been about choices,
with losers, winners, dilemmas and destruction as well as creative possibility. Gavin Kitching
(1989: 195), who is concerned to put post-Second World War debates about development
into a longer historical perspective (stressing how they also reproduce even older narratives
from the nineteenth century), argues:
It is my view that the hardest and clearest thinking about development always reveals
that there are no easy answers, no panaceas whether these be de-linking, industriali-
zation, rural development, appropriate technology, popular participation, basic
needs, socialism or whatever. As I have had occasion to say repeatedly in speaking on
and about this book, development is an awful process. It varies only, and importantly, in
its awfulness. And that is perhaps why my most indulgent judgements are reserved for
those, whether they be Marxist-Leninists, Korean generals, or IMF officials, who,

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Post-development
whatever else they may do, recognize this and are prepared to accept its moral implica-
tions. My most critical ref lections are reserved for those, whether they be Western
liberal-radicals or African bureaucratic elites, who do not, and therefore avoid or evade
such implications and with them their own responsibilities.
In this sense, perhaps post-developments scepticism towards grand narratives about develop-
ment is less original than the theoretical frames (the analysis of discourse) that it brings to
bear in problematizing these. Yet according to some post-development writers, not only are
there no easy answers, but the whole question of development should be problematized
and/or rejected.
There are a number of more fundamental objections to post-development. The first is that
it overstates the case. Such arguments usually accept that development is contradictory (that
it has winners and losers), but refuse to reject all that goes under its name. For to reject all
development is arguably a rejection of the possibility for progressive transformation; or it is
to ignore the tangible improvements in life chances, health, wealth and material well-being
evident in some places, notably the developmental states of East or Southeast Asia (Rigg,
2003). The changing global map of production, consumption and finance in recent decades
is also redrawing the map of more and less developed spaces and of global wealth and power
(see Sidaway, 2012; Brutigam and Xiayang, 2012). Moreover, development itself has long
been so varied and carried so many meanings (see Williams, 1976) that critiques need to be
specific about what they mean when they claim to be anti- or post-development.
In this context, Escobars (1995) work, in particular, was often criticized. One objection
has been that he understates the potential for change within development discourse (see
Brown, 1996). Escobars work ref lects his experiences as an anthropologist in Colombia. As
an account based on experiences of twentieth century Colombia, Escobars critique of devel-
opment could seem suggestive. Colombia has experienced periods of brutal civil war and
foreign intervention. It became a major source of cocaine, connected to often violent smug-
gling networks extending northwards into the United States and Europe. Yet there is a risk
that Escobars text obscures the diversity of experiences of development, not all of which are
as troubled as the Colombian experience.
The second objection involves rejecting post-development as yet another intellectual fad
of limited (or no) relevance to the poor in the Third World. Sometimes this objection draws
attention to the fact that many of those who write about or disseminate post-development
ideas live precisely the cosmopolitan, middle-class, relatively aff luent lives that development
promises to deliver. Such questions parallel the critique of postcolonialism as an intellectual
fashion most useful to the careers of Western-based intellectuals.
However, a few counter-points are in order here. First, a whole set of writings and ideas
are grouped together under the rubric of post-development. Michael Watts (2000: 170)
explained that:
There is of course a polyphony of voices within this post-development community 
Vandana Shiva, Wolfgang Sachs, Arturo Escobar, Gustavo Esteva and Ashish Nandy, for
example, occupy quite different intellectual and political locations. But it is striking how
intellectuals, activists, practitioners and academics within this diverse community par-
ticipated in a global debate.
Moreover, it is important to point out that for Escobar (1995) and others exploring the (geo)
politics of development, to criticize development is not necessarily to reject change and

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Theories and strategies of development
possibility. Rather, it is to make us aware of the consequences of framing this as develop-
ment. It stresses that development is (for good and bad) a lways about power. Hence, as Cl ive
Gaby (2012: 1249) notes, projects such as the Millennium Development Goals involve a
logic of ambitious social, cultural and spatial engineering. Moreover, alternative visions
considering, for example, democracy, popular culture, resourcefulness and environmental
impacts would transform the imagined map of more or less developed countries. Recogni-
tion that development is but one way of seeing the world (and one that carries certain con-
sequences and assumptions) can open up other perspectives. What happens, for example, to
the perception of Africa when it is seen as rich in cultures and lives whose diversity, wealth
and worth are not adequately captured by being imagined as more or less developed? Alter-
natively, why are poverty and deprivation (or for that matter, excessive consumption
amongst the aff luent) in countries like the United States, New Zealand or the United
Kingdom not issues of development (see Jones, 2000; Kurian and Munshi, 2012)? What is
taken for granted when the term development is used? For it often seems that, in Escobars
(1995: 39) words, development has created a space in which only certain things could be
said or even imagined. Post-development literatures teach us not to take this space and its
contours for granted.
References
Berman, M. (1983) All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience of Modernity , London: Verso.
Blomstrom, H. and Hettne, B. (1984) Development Theory in Transition: The Dependency Debate and
Beyond: Third World Responses , London: Zed Books.
Brutigam, D. and Xiayang, T. (2012) Economic statecraft in Chinas new overseas special economic
zones: Soft power, business or resource security? International Affairs 88(4): 799816.
Brown, E. (1996) Deconstructing development: Alternative perspectives on the history of an idea,
Journal of Historical Geography 22(3): 333339.
Cur r y, G. N. (20 03) Mov ing beyond postdevelopment: Faci l it at ing ind igenous a lter nat ives for devel-
opment, Economic Geography 79(4): 405423.
Dabashi, H. (1993) Theology of Discontent: The Ideological Foundation of the Islamic Revolution in Iran ,
New York and London: New York University Press.
Donaldson, A. (2006) Performing regions: Territorial development and cultural politics in a Europe
of the regions, Environment and Planning A 38(11), 20752092.
Ekbladh, D. (2010) The Great American Mission: Modernization and the Construction of an American World
Order , Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Engerman, D. C., Gilman, N., Haefele, M. H. and Latham, M. E. (eds) (2003) Staging Growth:
Modernization, Development and the Global Cold War , Amherst and Boston: University of
Massachusetts Press.
Escobar, A. (1995) Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World , Princeton,
NJ: Princeton University Press.
Esteva, G. (1992) Development, in W. Sachs (ed.) The Development Dictionary: A Guide to Knowledge as
Power , London: Zed Books, pp. 625.
Gaby, C. (2012) The Millennium Development Goals and ambitious developmental engineering,
Third World Quarterly 33(7): 12491265.
Jackson, J. T. (2005) The Globalizers: Development Workers in Action , Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins
University Press.
Jones, P. S. (2000) Why is it alright to do development over there but not here? Changing vocab-
ularies and common strategies of inclusion across the First and Third Worlds, Area 32(2):
237241.
Kay, C. (1989) Latin American Theories of Development and Underdevelopment , London and New York:
Routledge.
Kiely, R. (1999) The last refuge of the noble savage? A critical account of post-development, European
Journal of Development Research 11(1): 30 55.

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151
Post-development
Kitching, G. (1989) Development and Underdevelopment in Historical Perspective: Populism, Nationalism and
Industrialization (revised edition), London and New York: Routledge.
Kothari, U. (2005) From colonial administration to development studies: A post-colonial critique of
the history of development studies, in U. Kothari (ed.) A Radical History of Development Studies:
Individuals, Institutions and Ideologies , London: Zed, pp. 4766.
Kurian, P. A. and Munshi, D (2012) Denial and distancing in discourses of development: Shadow of
the Third World in New Zealand, Third World Quarterly 33(6): 981999.
Leys, C. (1996) The Rise and Fall of Development Theory , London: James Currey.
Lowy, M. (1980) The Politics of Combined and Uneven Development: The Theory of Permanent Revolution ,
London: New Left Books.
Mohanty, C. P. (1988) Under Western eyes: Feminist scholarship and colonial discourses, Feminist
Review 30: 6188.
Nederveen Pieterse, J. (2000) After post-development, Third World Quarterly 21(2): 175191.
Prahshad, V. (2007) The Darker Nations: A Peoples History of the Third World , New York: The New Press.
Rigg, J. (2003) Southeast Asia: The Human Landscape of Modernization and Development , second edition,
London and New York: Routledge.
Rist, G. (1997) The History of Development: From Western Origins to Global Faith , London: Zed Books.
Rodney, W. (1972) How Europe Underdeveloped Africa , London: Bogle LOuveture.
Sewell, B. (2010) Early modernisation theory? The Eisenhower administration and the foreign policy
of development in Brazil, English Historical Review 125: 14491480.
Sidaway, J. D. (2007) Spaces of Postdevelopment, Progress in Human Geography 31(3): 345361.
Sidaway, J. D. (2012) Geographies of development: New maps, New visions?, The Professional Geogra-
pher 64(1): 4962.
Slater, D. (1993) The geopolitical imagination and the enframing of development theory, Tran sa c tion s
of the Institute of British Geographers NS 18: 41937.
Stirrat, R. L. (2000) Cultures of consultancy, Critique of Anthropology 20(1): 3146.
Stirrat, R. L. (2008) Mercenaries, missonaries and misfits. Representations of development personnel,
Critique of Anthropology 28(4): 406425.
Watts, M. (2000) Development, in R. J. Johnson, D. Gregory, G. Pratt and M. Watts (eds) The
Dictionary of Human Geography (4th edn), Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 167171.
Williams, R. (1976) Keywords , London: Fontana.
Further reading
Crush, J. (ed.) (1995) Power of Development , London and New York: Routledge. An introduction and
collection of 14 essays that examines the power of development discourses. The essays show how
claims of development to being a solution to problems of national and global poverty, disorder
and environmental degradation, are sometimes illusions.
Escobar, A. (1995) Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World , Princeton,
NJ: Princeton University Press. Written by a Colombian anthropologist and drawing on the trajec-
tory of that country (whilst making more general claims), this critique uses the ideas of Michel
Foucault to understand development as a discourse and therefore as a particular (Western) regime
of truth, power and knowledge. It remains inf luential.
Ferguson, J. (1990) The Anti-Politics Machine: Development, Depoliticization and Bureaucratic Power in
Lesotho , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Like Escobar, another often cited book-length
critique of the discourse of development written by an anthropologist. Less sweeping in its claims
than Escobar, but no less persuasive and inf luential. Subsequent texts by this author; (2006) Global
Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order , and (1999) Expectations of Modernity: Myths and Meanings
of Urban Life on the Zambian Copperbelt , are also rewarding.
Rahnema, M. and Bawtree, V. (eds) (1997) The Post-Development Reader , London: Zed Books. An
introduction plus 440 pages comprising of 37 short extracts (and an afterword) from thinkers, pol-
iticians and activists who problematized development. Each reading has a short introduction that
helps to contextualize it (written by the editors). This remains amongst the best places to start a
course of further reading and/or to get a f lavour of post-development. Another edited collection
of material on post-development appeared a decade on. It also offers a valuable route into the liter-
atures and debates: Ziai, A. (ed.) (2007) Exploring Post-Development: Theory, Practice, Problems and
Perspectives , London and New York: Routledge.

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Sauders, K. (ed) (2002) Feminist Post-Development Thought: Rethinking Modernity, Post-colonialism and
Representation , London: Zed Books. Seventeen essays examining intersections between feminism,
post-development and post-colonialism.
Sidaway, J. D. (2007) Spaces of postdevelopment, Progress in Human Geography 31(3), 345361. This
article is a wider review of the literatures on post-development and a reconsideration of develop-
ment as socio-spatial transformation that grew out of an earlier version of this chapter.

2.14

Social capital and

development

Anthony Bebbington and Katherine E. Foo
Introduction
The concept of social capital relates social norms, rules, and reciprocal obligations to patterns
of social and economic action (Woolcock, 1998). For James Coleman, Social capital is
defined by its function. It is not a single entity but a variety of different entities, with two
elements in common: they all consist of some aspect of social structures, and they facilitate
certain actions of actors (Coleman, 1988: S98). Meanwhile, Pierre Bourdieu defined social
capital as the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of
a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and
recognition... which provides each of its members with the backing of the collectively
owned capital (Bourdieu, 1986: 21). Economists have used the concept as a way of describ-
ing the social something (Hammer and Pritchett, 2006) that their econometric tools could
otherwise not handle: the social relationships through which information is exchanged, risk
managed, cooperation made possible, and so on (Hammer and Pritchett, 2006; Durlauf and
Fafchamps, 2005; Fafchamps, 2006). Other social scientists have used social capital to explore
how social relationships affect governance, democracy, livelihood and collective action
(Woolcock, 2010).
Engaging these differences, Uphoff (1999) distinguishes cognitive and structural defini-
tions of social capital. Cognitive social capital pertains to the domain of values, trust and
perceptions. This conceptualization is apparent, for instance, in attitudinal survey research
which gives quantitative measures to levels of trust in society and relates this trust to other
indicators, in particular ones of economic performance. A structural conception of social
capital leads researchers to focus on social relations, networks, loose associations and formal
organizations. Within development studies this structural conception has gained most atten-
tion, with social capital referring to the resources  information, reputations, credit  that
f low through and are made available by social networks. Some writers view social capital as

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Social capital and development
the interpersonal relationships that individuals mobilize to enhance their wealth and status
( Bourdieu, 1977) while others understand it as properties of social organization that facilitate
coordinated, collective action (Putnam, 1993; Woolcock, 2010). This latter approach also
considers how social networks can be shaped so that they are conducive to building more
democratic, supportive, and inclusive communities.
Why did social capital become prominent in development?
While there are continuities between the concept of social capital and themes in nineteenth
century classical sociology (Woolcock, 1998), and although the concept had been deployed
in urban planning ( Jacobs, 1992[1961]), sociology (Bourdieu, 1986) and economics (Loury,
1977), it was Robert Putnams work in political science that popularized the concept as an
independent variable in economic and political development while at the same time giving it
a quite particular meaning (Putnam, 1993). In his study of regional government performance
in Italy, Putnam argued that, ceteris paribus , Italys local governments were more effective and
responsive to their citizens, and its sub-national economies more dynamic in those regions
exhibiting higher rates of participation in civic associations. Through involvement in these
associations people learnt citizenship and developed networks of civic engagement ( social
capital ) that, in their aggregate, fostered greater levels of accountability and responsibility in
society and more efficiency in the economy. Putnam thus tied social capital to coordination,
cooperation and aggregate development performance, a quite distinct conceptualization
from that of pr ior approaches. This conception proved to be much more intuitively accessible
to a range of audiences than was the case for earlier renditions.
The visibility of Putnams work in academic and popular outlets drove collective debate
of his argument in sociology and political science, especially in the USA. It also caught the
attention of senior figures in the World Bank, where both the economic research and the
social development communities began exploring the relevance of social capital for their own
understandings of development (Bebbington et al ., 2004, 2006). This link to the World Bank
is important because, while the concept was set to be widely debated within academic social
science and North American community development, its passage into development studies
was accelerated and amplified by its usage within the World Bank.
Within the World Bank the concept proved especially helpful to those communities who
already questioned the value of formal economic approaches to development. They saw in
social capital a means of bringing social organizations, relationships and empowerment into
the institutions narrative on development in a way that would still allow conversations with
the Banks economists. Development became understood as a function of different forms of
capital at scales that ranged from the nation to the household. Early statements on sustaina-
bility and the wealth of nations (Serageldin and Steer, 1994) argued that the sustainability
of development could be understood as a function of the mixes and trade-offs among pro-
duced capital, natural capital, human capital and social capital. A weak concept of sustain-
ability would consider development as sustainable as long as the overall capital stock increased;
an absurdly strong notion of sustainability would not allow draw-down in any of these
forms of capital; and sensible sustainability would hold total capital stock intact and avoid
depletion of any capital beyond critical levels.
If national development was a function of capital mixes and substitutions, then it was only
a few short steps to using similar approaches to the study of poverty, welfare and livelihoods
at the household and individual levels. Work at the World Bank analyzed household poverty
as a function of household access to human, social, natural and financial capital, and social

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Theories and strategies of development
capital was identified as an especially critical determinant (Grootaert, 1999; Narayan and
Pritchett, 1999). Other development agencies approaches to livelihoods followed a similar
tack (Carney, 1998). These approaches argued that social capital  understood, broadly, as the
networks, organizations and relations to which the person or household had access  facili-
tated access to other assets, or to the institutions providing those assets, and in that way
reduced poverty and vulnerability. This argument has been used in micro-financial services
literature and practice, in which social capital (in the form of group membership) is taken as
a guarantee that loans will be repaid. Another strand in this writing (and also at the World
Bank) has seen social capital as an important safety net, a means of reducing vulnerability.
Here social relationships (formal or informal) are valued for the role that they can play in
helping people recover from or cope with crisis, violence or other sources of risk and pertur-
bation (Moser, 1998).
Two points merit comment here. The underlying inf luence on the use of the concept
came from neo-classical econom ic approaches to production functions and, to a lesser extent,
ideas in ecological economics about stocks of natural capital. Notably absent was Bourdieus
(1977) notion that the distributions of forms of capital (economic, cultural, symbolic, social)
have to be understood as interrelated and in large measure mutually reinforcing. In his con-
ception, for example, social capital serves to consolidate control of economic capital and
relationships of power. There was no necessary reason why such conceptions could not have
inf luenced development thinking (Bebbington, 2007). Second, even if the broader model at
work here was underpinned by frameworks from economics rather than sociology, social
development professionals latched onto the idea quickly. This type of asset-based framework
allowed a development narrative that saw participatory processes and strong organizational
fabrics as assets of equal importance to education, finance or infrastructure. Capital based
approaches to sustainable development offered the prospect of incorporating what had typi-
cally been local, idiographic and operational concerns into wider theories of development in
which the social was as important as the economic.
Criticisms and elaborations
A good case can be made that development studies research has tended to overstate the
potential that social capital holds as a resource for poor people (Cleaver, 2005), and understate
the extent to which local, national and international political economy structures their abil-
ity to accumulate more assets and to get ahead. A social theoretical lens would conceptualize
social capital as embedded in multiple historical and geographical scales, as both constituted
by and constitutive of wider relations of political and cultural economy. Indeed, social capital
has been subject to penetrating critique in both social and political science as well as in devel-
opment studies (e.g. Fine, 2001). These criticisms have been many and varied. Critics note
that conceptualizations of social capital: can refer to so many dimensions of social life as to
become relatively meaningless (Portes, 1998); do not allow for clear identification of causal-
ity; perpetuate romanticized notions of community (Cleaver, 2005; Portes, 1998); facilitate
the further colonization of social science by neoliberal economics (Fine, 2001); turn social
relations into objects of financial calculation; and ignore questions of political economy,
power, and politics. In considerable measure such criticism ref lects the extent to which early
adoption of the concept was underlain by the production function approaches just noted as
well as its association with the World Bank.
Even when some claim that such criticisms have been repetitive (Woolcock, 2010), there
are indications that social capital research has recognized and responded to some of the points

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Social capital and development
made. For example, Jamal (2009) highlights the tangled and negative dimensions of associa-
tional life in an authoritarian context, and the ways in which the forms of social capital they
involve are prone towards clientelism and patronage. In other studies, methodological pro-
gress has been made in developing multi-level approaches to social capital in order to better
address the relationships between social structure, well-being and health (Kawachi, 2008).
Meanwhile studies of social capital in local organizations have sought to combine the insights
of experimental economics (to understand the emergence and effects of trust and reciprocity)
with those of critical social science (to address the effects of power asymmetries on coopera-
tion) (Serra, 2011).
Of course, not all new research has been so self-ref lective, and more generally publica-
tions on (and citations of ) social capital continue to boom (Woolcock, 2010; Serra, 2011;
Svendsen and Svendsen, 2009). At the same time, the term has found its way into everyday
discussions of development (and not only in the English language). Indeed, Woolcock
(2010) argues that one of the great strengths of social capital is that the term facilitates
many different conversations  both outside and within academia  among groups who
otherwise would be unlikely to talk to each other about the relationships between social
organization, development and democracy. In these different senses social capital may
have some affinity with that other slippery development concept, sustainability. Each
manages to bundle into a single term something that is at once conceptual, normative and
intuitive. Perhaps for that very same reason, each appeals across a wide disciplinary and
political spectrum and has traction in scholarly, policy and popular debate while at the same
time being difficult to pin down with great precision. These qualities are simultaneously
sources of great strength and great weakness. They may also prove to assure that both con-
cepts will have a long shelf life in development studies even when many who use them feel
some discomfort in doing so.
References
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The Companion to Development Studies, Third Edition, edited by Vandana Desai, and Rob Potter, Routledge, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/monash/detail.action?docID=1656758.

Copyright 2014. Routledge. All rights reserved.

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