Dependency Theory

Dependency theory proliferated in the 1960s as a Marxist-inspired political economy paradigm seeking to explain economic underdevelopment. The many varieties of dependency combine Marxism with economic nationalism. While economic liberals describe underdevelopment as a condition from which countries can exit, dependency theorists consider underdevelopment as a process that was inherent in the way the international economy operated. Its novelty as a school of thought was that most of its leading theoretical fathers (including Andre Gunder Frank, Theotonio dos Santos, Celso Furtado, and Fernando Henrique Cardoso) were intellectuals from the Third World, unlike those of other ideological paradigms, which were usually imported from the First World. Dependency stood in sharp contraposition to modernization theory.

Modernization theory posits that economic development in the Third World could be constructively ...

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