The Process of Economic Development

By James M. Cypher; James L. Dietz | Go to book overview
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6

Heterodox theories of economic development
After studying this chapter, you should understand:
the importance of the distinction between the center and the periphery in structuralist theory;
the Prebisch-Singer hypothesis on declining terms of trade for primary product exporters and the debate surrounding it;
the role of import substitution industrialization according to the economists of the Economic Commission for Latin America and their subsequent critique of this policy;
Ayres' concept of inhibiting institutions and the importance of education and technology to the institutionalist perspective;
Gunnar Myrdal's seminal ideas about spread effects and backwash effects as examples of cumulative causation;
the distinction between associated dependent development and the dependency perspective of underdevelopment;
Baran's view of the equilibrium trap of underdevelopment; and
the distinction between stagnationist dependency analysis and the classical progressive Marxist view of development as presented by Bill Warren.

Introduction

This chapter discusses and analyzes the ideas of economists and social scientists who have broken with economic orthodoxy and also have moved beyond the framework of the developmentalist economists considered in the previous chapter. These heterodox economists do not believe that relatively minor changes in economic conditions, such as an increase in foreign aid or a sudden increase in investment, will be sufficient to create the "big push" or the "take-off" into sustained growth, as did the developmentalists. In fact, many of the heterodox economists would argue that such limited changes, within the context of the existing structures and institutions prevailing in less-developed societies, might result in a strengthening of backward socioeconomic framework, consolidating adverse path dependence. For the heterodox economists, the changes required to propel the development process forward are more fundamental, more sweeping, and more profound.

Included among the heterodox grouping are a number of thinkers who hold no

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