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The Globalization and Development Reader: Perspectives on Development and Global Change, 2nd Edition by Nitsan Chorev, Amy Bellone Hite, J. Timmons Roberts

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Introduction

This section features pieces by a group of thinkers who tied globalization to the colonial era starting around 1500, and to the long-term exploitation of the people and resources of Africa, South America, and Asia by wealthy countries in Europe and North America. They fall into two major groups: dependency and world-systems theorists; and among the dependency theorists there are “structuralists” and a more radical camp. Rather than saying globalization and its impacts are brand-new, dependency and world-systems theorists argued that this history goes back hundreds of years, at least to the rise of mercantile capitalism which traded goods across these regions of rich and poor. As described in the introductory chapter to this volume, these dependency school theorists wrote in reaction to “modernization theories,” which said that poor nations lacked the capital (investable piles of money in a few hands), values (of hard work and investment), and business practices (like modern accounting) to make firms and nations succeed. Dependency theorists considered this “blaming the victims.”

Dependency theories conceptualize the world as consisting of two poles: wealthy countries are the “center” (core) of the global capitalist system, and poor countries are its “satellite” or “periphery.” Peripheral countries have low wages enforced by coercive regimes that undermine independent labor unions and social movements. Because there are few members of dependent nations to make ...

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