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Dependency - The Intellectual Roots Of Dependency Thinking, Radical Dependency Theorists, Reformist Dependency Theory, Critiques Of Dependency

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During the 1960s and 1970s, Latin American dependency theorists produced an important challenge to modernization and growth theories of development. Associated with a number of key intellectuals from Latin America—Andre Gunder Frank, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, and Peter Evans in Latin America, Samir Amin and Walter Rodney in Africa—the dependentistas turned modernization theory upside down by arguing that contact with Western capitalism created (rather than solved) underdevelopment in the Third World. They challenged the Eurocentric notion that development was a "catch-up game" in which a "backward" Third World, mired in "tradition" (and thus outside modern history), could only become developed (like the West) with the help of Western capitalism.

While significant variations within this perspective would emerge, certain central tenets can be identified. Most notably, the dependentistas rejected the dual approach to development, arguing for a more global approach that examined unequal terms of trade and the role of Western capital in the perpetuation of these inequalities. At the same time, dependency theorists were unable to break completely from the Eurocentric discourse they were challenging. While critiquing the nation-state focus of modernization theory, their policy prescriptions tended to assert the centrality of the nation-state, with particular attention to state structures, technology, and national economic planning, thereby appropriating many of the key elements in mainstream development's toolkit. This limitation has inspired critiques of dependency writings from many different perspectives.

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