The Development of Underdevelopment by Andrew Gunder Frank – A book Summary In his writing regarding underdevelopment of development, Andrew Gunder Frank has tried to illustrate the history of the development, underdevelopment, and the evolution of dependency to a world system theory. Finally he has come up with some alternatives and has tried to elaborate the new dualism and the recent movements in the world. According to Frank, development thinking emerged as an instrument of post war American hegemony and has defined it as the child of neo-imperialism and neo-colonialism which was the strategy of U. S. o hegemonies the semi-colonial countries. However, then the communist fear swept in the world with the Chinese and Cuban revolution. This posed urgency for U. S. to come up with a harmless alternative and the development thinking emerged. Soon, the development was equated with the economic growth which was a part of American pragmatism and imperialism. Development was defined along with the pre-defined steps and the pace in which the traditional sectors were replaced by the modern ones He believed, equity comes beforehand than efficiency in economics and he considered the political change as the basic ingredient for the development.
He denied structural growth models in the sense that they considered underdevelopment as traditional and original. He viewed dependence as being opposite to the development and so he argued for the march towards a self-reliant and non-dependent socialist economic structure as a solution. However, the dependency theory prospered and was consumed elsewhere including Latin America. Some of the theories of dependency model was tried to be imposed in Chile but it was hard to ensure the equitable distribution and capturing the potential surplus was not an easy job.
Though the efficiency did not increased over the years, equity and the social development had of course increased with increased people participation, dignity and education. In regard of Latin America there was no hope left. Again, the introduction of the neo-liberal policy in Chile after the military coup regarded the efficiency first and then only equity. It had its root in Reagonomics and Thatcherism. Then this spread elsewhere in the world. Many had hoped that the multinational corporations and their foreign investment would reduce if not eliminate the dependence.
However, it increased the foreign dependence through the foreign debts, as a neo-colonialist instrument. Their trade, monetary, fiscal and social or development policies are even more constrained now by the foreign debts than by the foreign investments before. It was found that the out flow of resources was more than the in-flow. In example, Hungary paid three times the loan and still the double was left to be paid. In this way, the result was not the development but the underdevelopment of development. He had even analyzed the economic crisis in the world which he viewed as the continuation of the structural past.
The recession has been more devastating each time and the recent financial crisis of 1989 was the most devastating. It was because the structural problem had not been resolved and the temporary solution of the problems through the inappropriate policies had further aggravated the problem, thus paving the way for the next recession. No country was isolated from the financial crisis not even the socialist nations because they had already found their place in the world economic system and no longer were immune to them.
Then the marketization and the privatization flourished along with the polarization of classes, gender and the ethnic groups’ and the regions ethnically, nationally and internationally. A few floated in the surface and the vast were fart below it. The idea of one world system theory was propounded by Gorvachev where he focused that no society can be closed and no society can isolate itself from the world system which is being a single organism. The world system including its center-periphery, hegemony-rivalry, competition and the cyclical ups and downs has been evolving for five thousand years before.
There has been always the competition for the leadership and hegemony and the core-countries temporarily enjoy it and eventually has to transfer to a new world power. The transfer of the hegemony has occurred through Asia, china Middle East, Europe, America, and now towards Japan and who knows may be to China. The five pillars of the world system is i) world system itself, ii)process of capital accumulation, iii)center-periphery structure, iv) alteration in hegemony and leadership, v) long and short economic cycles of the alternating ascending and descending phases.
World system denies that the world system began in Europe and the rise of west was due to the European “exceptionalism” which incorporated the whole world in the capitalist model after 1500. Frank argued that the rise of west was the result of the decline in the east but west flourished form the riches of the east and specifically by using the gold and silver they pillaged from America. They hadn’t succeeded even in the most of 18th century but history was re-written in their favor as a part of 19th century colonialism.
However, this hegemony is temporary and will end soon with west ward shift of the hegemony back to Asia. He argued with Waller stein and Amin in the sense that he believed that the capital accumulation has been a motor-force of history and there was no sharp break around 1500. He argued that the rules of ht games have not altered but the positions only have altered in the recent days. the techniques of competition have changed but still the capital accumulation remains the determining factor. The societies were not incorporated into a system agfter1500 but they had been there since the past.
He denied capitalism as a different mode of production but as a gradual evolution from the feudalism, capitalism, socialism, communism as transitional ideological modes and are best abandoned for their lack of real or scientific base. Real world system evolution is not responsible to the global or local development policy. Each time the leading economy considers itself as the civilized ones and the others as the barbaric ones. They enjoyed privileged cultural, social, economic, technological, military and political position relative to other dependent ones.
So, one country has to try to formulate the development policy as per its comparative advantage as the delinking with the world system is not only difficult but impossible. The growing threat posed now is the involuntary marginalization or the delinking from the world process of development or evolution like Sub-Saharan Africa. After being squeezed dry like a lemon in course of world capitalist development, There ahs been a decreasing world market for the human and natural resources of Africa and it has posed the threat for other regions also. he new dualism and the old dualism differ with each other in the sense that the old dualism identifies the sectors or regions separate and existed long before without any past and present exploitation before modernization will link them happily ever after. The new dualism comes after contact and exploitation where the lemon is totally discarded after squeezing it to get dry. While searching for other alternatives, the present world development policy seem to be inadequate and the need is directed towards the battle with anti-development by taking marginalized into account who ate in fact the majorities.
The biggest minorities are women who though do much of the world productive activities lag far behind. So, all works are done by the minorities and this battle will bring the welfare to the majority of the minority. In the present world, many social movements have resulted and they are the consequences of the economic suppression and the social discontent. However, now they have posed a threat for the class strife, racial and ethnic clashes etc.