Export-led development is a phrase encompassing a number of different economic development strategies—especially export-oriented industrialization (EOI) and the export of primary products—pursued by the developing world. These practices arise from development theories informed by economic and political economic thought. A number of major and conflicting lines of economic and political economic thought, including neoclassical economics, development economics, and Marxist political economy, hold different views on exportled development. Disagreement centers primarily on the role of the state in guiding economic growth through export orientation and the desirability of pursuing comparative advantage versus competitive advantage. Geographers have been prominent in theorizing the uneven development of capitalism and the successes and failures of various nations’ attempts at economic development.

Richard Peet makes an important distinction between “strong” development, in ...

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