Home >> Socio Short Notes >> Development and Dependency

Development and Dependency


Development as a social concept involves progressive change from one lower state to a higher state of well being or a change in that direction.It is also defined as development is about removing the obstacles to the things that a person can do in life such as illiteracy,ill health ,lack of access to resources or lack of civil and political freedom.Development is self realization and independence of thoughts and actions leading to full realization of every individual’s potential in the society.Classical sociologists took an evoluntionary view of development which is shift from a traditional or simple society to modern or industrialized society.According to this view development means high industrialization,high production,urbanization ,secularization,democracy etc which are characteristics of modern industrial societies.This notion faced lot of criticism from many sections. Over the years the developed countries evolved their own model of development which was primarily focused on material well being.The western notion of development which was primarily focused on material well being. The western notion of development was imposed on newly liberated nations after the second world war when numerous of them became independent.However their conditions were not improving and instead they were a net outflow of resources ,stagnant levels of poverty and a dependency on western countries. This led to the rise of dependency theories in 1950s in Latin American countries which were under communist influence and saw development process as essentially the one creating dependency of the developing countries on the developed countries.They rejected the arguments of modernization theorists that modernity and development reach to the bottom most in its own due course. They rejected the notion that under development of countries is due to their own cultural and institutional faults. They are an offshoot of Marxist thinking which sees a creation of global haves and the have nots in the form of a highly unequal global north and  global south. Though colonialism has ended it continues to be practiced in a disguised manner and developed countries prevent development of underdeveloped countries for their own vested interests. These theories regard power,economic,military and soft power as central to enforcing unequal economic relations. Dependency theory is also a reaction to conventional wisdom of development which supports a western model of development.Andre Gunder Frank in his book – Development of Underdevelopment 1966 argues that the contemporary underdevelopment of Latin American countries and Afro – Asian countries is a result of artificial dependency that the West has historically created  and this under development is fundamentally different from undevelopment.Colonialism and capitalism led to a complex integration of colonies into world economy in a subservient manner. French economist Arghiri Emmanuel in his Unequal Exchange 1972 refers to low income countries as not under developed but as mis developed. Wallerstein blame developed countries of perpetuating a culture of dependency and forwarding hollow slogans of development and in turn using the resources of lesser developed countries.According to him, self sufficient units of pre capitalist society are now victim of global capitalism and market forces. Development can be truly  meaningful if it can lead to collective rise of all the participants. Lopsided development will always lead to dependency.True developemnt creates energy and not dependence. Dependency can be curtailed only throuhg empowerment of those who are at the receiving end of the development process. New approaches like sustainable development ,rights based approach and bottoms up development are emerging as viable alternatives to the traditional approaches of development which created dependency.