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Theories of Development in the Modern World

First, Second, and Third Worlds.

Economic Geography

Questions about:

Measuring Development in the Modern World

Gross Domestic Product
an estimate of the total value of all materials, foodstuffs, goods, and services produced by a country in a particular year.

Gross National Product
similar to GDP, but also includes the value of income from abroad.

personal quality of life index
o Combines life expectancy, income, and literacy
Life Expectancy
Infant Mortality
Transnational corporations:
companies that participate not only in international trade but also in production, manufacturing, and/or sales operations in several countries.

Introduction to development theory: Orthodox vs. Dependency Theories
Where did all these poor people come from?

Orthodox theories of development as modernization are based on two assumptions -

The world consists of autonomous countries where social change is viewed as operating within each separate society.

Social change operates as a series of parallel paths for all societies. Independent countries are defined as societies.
o Stage 5 - age of mass consumption
o Stage 4 - drive to maturity
o Stage 3 - take-off
o Stage 2 - preconditions
o Stage 1 - traditional
At one end, irrational and non-progressive traditional society.
At the other end a rational and progressive modern society.

The process: modernization
'Traditional' society invokes "characteristics of societies which were once universal, but which are now only to be found in poorer countries" (Taylor p.306).
Poverty is seen to be a product of backwardness. Traditional societies can develop by catching up to the leader. (Verhelst)

Challenges to orthodox development theory:
Dependency theory - two paths:

-Rich countries show impressive growth in the core.
-Poor countries show impressive under-development in the periphery.

The development of under-development: some are kept at the bottom by those at the top.
Core-periphery is seen to also exist inside poor countries. A national elite marginalizes the poor.
Development and under-development - two sides of the same coin.

Wallerstein: World Systems Theory
"History consists of the rise and fall of world empires as distinct entities successively incorporating and releasing mini-systems." (Taylor p.314)
Orthodox models "resolutely avoid the study of the international structure of development and under-development of which the domestic structure is just a part." (Frank)
Poor countries must break away and base development on their own needs.

Dependency theory prescription:
Break away from the core.
Base development on your own needs.
Import substitution industrialization (ISI):
high tariffs protect nascent industries

Orthodox and Dependency theories are both based on modernization.

Development is a process where there is a balance between the roles of the state, the market, and civil institutions.

Economic development vs. Social development. Where would you rather live in the U.S.?

Development and alienation - examples from the video "Affluenza."

Development as discourse


Frank, A.G. 1967 'Sociology of Development and the Underdevelopment of Sociology' Catalyst, Summer 1967, pp.20-73

Johnston, R.J., Derek Gregory, Geraldine Pratt, Michael Watts 2000 The Dictionary of Human Geography Blackwell Publishers, Oxford:

Taylor, Peter 1989 'The Error of Developmentalism in Geography' Horizons in Human Geography, Macmillan, New York: pp.303-319

Verhelst, T 1990 No Life Without Roots Zed Books, London:

Wallerstein, I 1979 The Capitalist World Economy Cambridge U. Press