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Dependency Theory

  • By: Heather R. Putnam
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Dependency theory falls within a group of neo-Marxist theories that attempt to explain development, underdevelopment, and inequalities in the global system. Dependency theory is a response to the earlier modernization theory and its failure to generate economic growth in Latin America in the 1950s and 1960s. Whereas modernization theory was the brainchild of thinkers in core countries, that is, the economically developed world, dependency theory was the product of intellectuals in the world periphery or less developed countries disillusioned by the idea of modernization. Instead of arguing that poor countries are simply further behind richer countries in terms of development, dependency theorists argued that poorer countries are exploited by richer, developed countries, or, more pointedly, that the development of European and other Western countries depended ...

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