The Underdevelopment of Development: Essays in Honor of Andre Gunder Frank

By Filho, Alfredo Saad | Capital & Class, Summer 1998 | Go to article overview

The Underdevelopment of Development: Essays in Honor of Andre Gunder Frank


Filho, Alfredo Saad, Capital & Class


The Underdevelopment of Development: Essays in Honor of Andre Gunder Frank ISBN 0-8039-7260-1 (hbk)42.50 ISBN 0-8039-7261-X (pbk) 19.50 This collection of essays pays homage to the well-known dependencia writer Andre Gunder Frank, and provides a timely reappraisal of his work. Frank is one of the most important critics of the conventional (modernization) view of development. This book charts his intellectual trajectory, highlights his contribution to development thinking, and outlines his current research priorities. This is done in two different ways; first, through an interesting paper written by Frank himself and, second (and more conventionally), in seventeen papers written by other researchers. The fact that some are closer to Frank's own ideas than others makes a nice contrast. The book is highly readable, and some chapters make important contributions for a progressive approach to the problems of (under)development. The book also includes a complete bibliography of Frank's work, which many researchers will find useful.

The Underdevelopment of Development is divided into five sections. Section one has two chapters, which provide an introduction to Frank's ideas. Chapter two, especially, written by Frank himself, is quite interesting and deserves to be widely read.

Section two (On Development and Underdevelopment) includes five papers on the economic, anthropological and geographical aspects of underdevelopment. The best paper in this section is `On Development: For (;under Frank', by Samir Amin. In spite of this title, Amin is very much against Frank's view of (under)development; I also think that Amin's writings are more cogent and deserving of attention by Cd>C readers than Frank's-but that is another story. In contrast, the most amusing paper is `Developmentalism: A Eurocentric Hoax, Delusion and Chicanery.' In spite of its promising title, and of some interesting reflections on the bias intrinsic to the concept of development, the paper suggests that the trialectical method should substitute dialectics, because trialectics subjects dialectical claims `to futuristic potentialities/depotentialities critique' (p. 138). This is really beyond me.

Section three (On Peripheral Regions) includes three papers. Theotonio dos Santos reflects on the fate of Latin America and the origins of the dependencia school; Samir Amin discusses the unfolding catastrophe in Africa, and George Aseniero charts the development of East Asian countries. The latter is certainly the most interesting paper. Aseniero's insights on the importance of Japanese imperialism for the 'successful' industrialization of the East Asian NICs deserve to be seriously considered by CdsC readers. …

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