Dependency Theory

Essay by seanlvnCollege, UndergraduateA-, December 2007

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The set of assumptions and ideas about the force that is capitalism has shifted throughout history. Karl Marx saw capitalism as occurring in a national context and having beneficial effects for late developers in the form of precipitated industrialization. Then came a shift of ideas, by Vladimir Lenin, about the role of capitalism. Lenin saw capitalism as the international impetus for the economic exploitation by the developed world of the developing world. Lenin's set of ideas were taken and developed by dependency theorist. Gunder-Frank, a first generation dependency theorist, saw the relationship between international and domestic economies as being inherently unchanging-with metropolis-satellite, or core-periphery, relations as the major defining feature of capitalism. Evans took the ideas and assumptions of the first generation dependency theorists, such as Gunder-Frank, and improved them. Through the triple alliance, Evans saw optimism for the developing world-much more so than Gunder-Frank. Lenin's revision of Marxist ideas engendered the nascence of first generation dependency theory, which was ultimately amended and improved by Peter Evans and the second generation dependency theorists, namely through their ability to reconcile dependency theory with the recent success of the East Asian Newly Industrializing Countries.

In contrast to the dependency theorists, Karl Marx has a disparate perspective on the role of capitalism. He believes capitalism is a force, one that occurs in a national context and that acts as the impetus for imperialism, which has enormous beneficial effects for late developers in that it brings industrialization, technology, and skills to colonized regions. He believes that once this occurs, all countries will exhibit the same dynamism and launch themselves onto the road of industrial development. According to Marx, each previously colonized country will, in time, go through the same stages as England. That is to say that the working masses will become more...