chapter
COLONIAL CENTERS, COLONIAL PERIPHERIES, AND THE ECONOMIC AGENCY OF THE SPANISH STATE
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The terms center and periphery have had a contentious and often politicized place in the historical literature devoted to Latin America. During the 1960s and 1970s, these terms were common referents in the discourse o f dependency theory. Reduced to its shared core, the literature o f dependency theory argued that Latin America (a periphery) had had its economic character imposed by the colonial economic policies o f Spain and Portugal. Wi th independence, two modern industrial powers, Great Britain and later the United States (consecutively exercising the role o f center), used interventions and the imposition o f exploitative commercial terms to maintain what were essentially colonial relations o f dependence. Scholars writing in this determinist tradition produced a literature rich in convincing anecdote. Certainly, there was overwhelming evidence that richer and more powerful nations had consistently worked to pursue their own advantage at significant cost to Latin America. This intellectual exercise not only created lively debate; it also influenced economic policy in Latin America. I f foreign investment and foreign direct ownership o f LatinAmerican resources had impeded development in the past, then the creation o f effective impediments to foreign investment and ownership o f local resources would facilitate autonomous development in the future. For a generation o f planners and politicians influenced by dependency theory, import substitution was the logical policy objective.