Development & Underdevelopment
Jan. 22, 2018
Underdevelopment: when used in Truman’s 4 points, is ahistorical, implies there is
potential for dvlmpt in any country. Ignores why some countries are not developed,
ignores power relations behind this.
1. Adam Smith
Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations
Adam Smith: not just an economist. Economy influenced by sociology. Saw markets
everywhere. Part of enlightenment. Pre-dates Marx, Weber, Darwin. Very foundational in
Against mercantile politics: saw regulation as detrimental to economic growth.
Didn’t think government should be uninvolved entirely; just thought overinvolvement
Main economic ideas for development
Paid attention to production rather than trade. Focus not on state but on production
-Division of labor: more productivity, more economic growth. Breaking up productive
process into smaller elements.
-When tasks are divided, people become specialized in a single task. Over time, people
become experts. Increases efficiency, dexterity, innovation in machinery.
In this model, division of labor begins with self-interest. Bc of self-interest, they get into
the market; trade doesn’t happen from benevolence. They can thus keep their dignity.
Specialize, trade what you’re good at. Higher quality of goods. This would lead to
If everyone acts in their interest, economy will reach peak production, raise GDP.
Advocated for high wages for laborers. Less productive if children raised in poverty.
Moral reason: no society can flourish when the greater part of its members are poor.
Recognized that repeating the same task becomes tedious; argued for luxury, theater,
distractions to mediate this.
2. Karl Marx
At the time, two main schools of thought: materialism vs. Idealism. (see chart slides)
-Materialism: ignores the role humans, individual actors, subjects play in history.