Comparative Inquiry in Politics and Political Economy: Theories and Issues

By Ronald H. Chilcote | Go to book overview

6
THE ECONOMIC DIMENSION

CAPITALIST AND SOCIALIST DEVELOPMENT

This chapter conceptualizes development and identifies fundamental characteristics of both capitalist and socialist development. It sketches major historical understandings of how development has affected peoples through time, initially in the era before capitalism; during the rise of merchant capital; and on to industrialization, the impact of imperialism and colonialism, the consequences of backwardness and underdevelopment, and moments of resistance and revolutionary experiences. It also traces various theoretical directions so that students of development may begin to sort out lines of thinking in the array of developmental ideas, strategies, and policies evident especially since the Second World War.


CONCEPTUALIZING DEVELOPMENT

A general definition of development might begin with the proposition that in any particular society the basic needs of all people should be resolved. In a broad sense this might imply such human needs as survival, belongingness, and leisure. The proposition, however, implies a more fundamental level. Evidently it is problematic whether capitalist societies can meet such basic needs as health, food, shelter, education, and employment.

At the level of politics, the formal representative character of many capitalist societies and some socialist societies usually is viewed as a step toward development. Yet in capitalist societies large numbers of people often absent themselves from the electoral process, political participation is minimal, and grassroots political involvement may be dwarfed by electoral campaigns influenced by moneyed interests and big capital. Although socialist societies generally have been able to deal with basic

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Comparative Inquiry in Politics and Political Economy: Theories and Issues
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Part One - Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Politics of Comparative Inquiry 17
  • 2 - Theoretical Paths 31
  • Part Two - Dichotomies of Theories 53
  • 4 - The Social Dimension 83
  • 5 - The Cultural Dimension 103
  • 6 - The Economic Dimension 119
  • 7 - The Political Dimension Representative and Participatory Democracy 151
  • Part Three - Conclusion 177
  • 8 - The Unending Search for a Paradigm in Political Economy 179
  • GLOSSARY 187
  • References 197
  • Index 210
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