Dependency Theory

Topics: Developed country, Developing country, Human Development Index Pages: 6 (2098 words) Published: December 26, 2011
This essay will start by giving an introduction and a brief history of the origins of dependency theory and how these developing countries have found themselves in the state of dependency. It will then proceed to outline and discuss the major tenets of the dependency model. The essay will further analyze why developing countries have maintained links with the western societies even after realizing that the same links have played a role in under developing these third world countries and then a conclusion will be drawn from the discussion. Theorists from all works of life have been trying their best to find the remedy in addressing the problems of third world countries. In spite of all these efforts, third world countries which are characterized with high poverty levels, poor medical facilities, and poor infrastructures seem to be experiencing more of underdevelopment. Developed nations on the contrary seem to be benefiting from this continuances lack of development in these countries. The state of underdevelopment prompted some scholars like Raul Prebisch, Gunder Frank and many others to analyze and find solutions to overcome such a state. This gave rise to the birth of a model which was Dependency model. The proponents of this model managed to point out the problems and offered remedial measures to overcome this problem of underdevelopment as it shall be seen in the unfolding discussion. Dependency has its roots tracing back to the era of imperialism which is a stage in development of capitalism characterized by low wages and declining profits in developed states. For these capitalist states to overcome this problem, they had to embark on the search for markets and cheaper sources of raw materials in order to keep the industries running. The markets for their manufactured goods and sources of raw materials were found in Asia, Africa and Latin America (Swanepoel, 1997). Imperialism later resulted into colonialism which can be explained as a direct military and economic subjugation of newly acquired lands in order to secure profitable investment opportunities, source of cheaper raw materials and markets abroad for the colonial masters. During the era of colonialism, raw materials and cheap labour were being repatriated to the Western countries to support and develop their industries. When time for independence came for most third world countries, it was difficult for the colonial masters to let go of full control of these countries. They made sure that links were kept with these newly independent countries in order for them to continue accessing markets, cheap mineral resources and labour. At this stage it was not direct governance as in colonialism but indirect and this was termed as Neo-colonialism. These countries appeared to be independent on the outside but economically and politically, they were not. Western countries still had control over their internal affairs (ibid.). Owing to the preceding explanation, a number of scholars arose to try and address this scenario hence Dependency Model or theory was born to explain asymmetrical relations that existed between developed and developing countries. Dependency Theory developed in the late 1950s under the guidance of the Director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA), Raul Prebisch. Prebisch and his colleagues were troubled by the fact that economic growth in the advanced industrialized countries did not necessarily lead to growth in the poorer countries. Indeed, their studies suggested that economic activity in the richer countries often led to serious economic problems in the poorer countries. Such a possibility was not predicted by neoclassical theory, which had assumed that economic growth was beneficial to all even if the benefits were not always equally shared (Ferraro, 2008). Underdeveloped states are characterized by low standard of living for the majority, production of agricultural primary products and raw materials and most of...
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