Dependency can be defined as an explanation of the economic development of a state in terms of the external influences--political, economic, and cultural--on national development policies Osvaldo Sunkel, "National Development Policy and External Dependence in Latin America," The Journal of Development Studies , Vol. Theotonio Dos Santos emphasizes the historical dimension of the dependency relationships in his definition:. Boston: Porter Sargent, , p.
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There are three common features to these definitions which most dependency theorists share. The dependent states are those states of Latin America, Asia, and Africa which have low per capita GNPs and which rely heavily on the export of a single commodity for foreign exchange earnings. Second, both definitions have in common the assumption that external forces are of singular importance to the economic activities within the dependent states.
These external forces include multinational corporations, international commodity markets, foreign assistance, communications, and any other means by which the advanced industrialized countries can represent their economic interests abroad. Third, the definitions of dependency all indicate that the relations between dominant and dependent states are dynamic because the interactions between the two sets of states tend to not only reinforce but also intensify the unequal patterns. Moreover, dependency is a very deep-seated historical process, rooted in the internationalization of capitalism.
Dependency is an ongoing process:. Latin America is today, and has been since the sixteenth century, part of an international system dominated by the now-developed nations Latin underdevelopment is the outcome of a particular series of relationships to the international system.
In short, dependency theory attempts to explain the present underdeveloped state of many nations in the world by examining the patterns of interactions among nations and by arguing that inequality among nations is an intrinsic part of those interactions. Most dependency theorists regard international capitalism as the motive force behind dependency relationships.
Andre Gunder Frank, one of the earliest dependency theorists, is quite clear on this point:.
What is the Source of Profit and Interest? A Classical Conundrum Reconsidered
Furthermore, these relations are an essential part of the capitalist system on a world scale as a whole. According to this view, the capitalist system has enforced a rigid international division of labor which is responsible for the underdevelopment of many areas of the world. The dependent states supply cheap minerals, agricultural commodities, and cheap labor, and also serve as the repositories of surplus capital, obsolescent technologies, and manufactured goods.
These functions orient the economies of the dependent states toward the outside: money, goods, and services do flow into dependent states, but the allocation of these resources are determined by the economic interests of the dominant states, and not by the economic interests of the dependent state. This division of labor is ultimately the explanation for poverty and there is little question but that capitalism regards the division of labor as a necessary condition for the efficient allocation of resources. The most explicit manifestation of this characteristic is in the doctrine of comparative advantage.
Moreover, to a large extent the dependency models rest upon the assumption that economic and political power are heavily concentrated and centralized in the industrialized countries, an assumption shared with Marxist theories of imperialism. Language and the Internet CUP, Aitchison and D. New Media Language. Berger and M. Carroll eds. Global pop, local language. University Press ofMississippi , Nettle and S. HS Development Anthropology Text Books:. Abram, and J. New York : Routledge. Alberto and N. London : Routledge. Edited by A.
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London : Blond and Briggs. Reference books. Croll , and D. Parkin , eds. Bush base, forest farm: culture, environment and development. Crewe and Harrison , Ed. Whose Development? London: Zed 3. Escobar, Encountering development: the making and unmaking of the Third World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Grillo , and R. Stirrat , eds. Discourses of development: anthropological perspectives. Oxford: Berg. Schech , Susan; Haggis, Jane, , Culture, and development: a critical introduction. Oxford : Blackwell.
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"Dependency Theory: An Introduction," Vincent Ferraro, Mount Holyoke College, July
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