Political Economy, Ideology, and the Impact of Economics on the Third World

By Derrick K. Gondwe | Go to book overview

5
Economics and the Political
Economy of Less Developed
Countries

The last chapter compared the three competing ideological worldviews in their treatment of some central topics in political economy. This chapter will examine how well orthodox economics, using the same methods applied to western capitalist economies, has fared when applied to the political economies of less developed countries (LDCs).

So far, we have seen that many orthodox economists, especially those who have been referred to as apostles of the neoclassical paradigm, 1 claim that economics is a positive science that is based on universal truths. As such, the principles on which it is founded can be applied to any given economic situation. Consequently, economists have trotted across the globe advising LDCs about the techniques that should be used to foster economic development.

Keynesian economics had much to do with this. Its influence lay in its reclamation of some of the elements of political economy that had been lost by Marshall's imprint on the discipline, especially his shift of focus from social groups to individual consumers and firms. It did this by legitimizing the role of government in the economic system, and hence at least partially revealing the social nature of the subject. By reintroducing the political element into neoclassical economics, Keynesian economics did three important things. First, it contributed to the revival of Adam Smith's major theme in The Wealth of Nations, which was economic development ( Smith called it progress). 2 Second, it laid bare, at least

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Political Economy, Ideology, and the Impact of Economics on the Third World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Transition from Political Economy to Economics 11
  • 3 - Ideology in Political Economy 31
  • 5 - Economics and the Political Economy of Less Developed Countries 93
  • Notes 115
  • 6 - Ideology and the Economics of Less Developed Countries 121
  • 7 - Toward a People-Centered Political Economy 151
  • Bibliography 177
  • Index 189
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