chapter  2
21 Pages

A critique of Latin American theories of dependency

ByPhilip J. O'Brien 7

Two themes dominated these early explanations of relative backwardness: philosophical and psychological explanations, and imperialist exploitation. The first was, and still is, very common; Latin Americans, it is argued, have certain character traits or philosophies of life which prevent the determined pursuit of rapid development. These philosophies of life or character traits, the latter often accompanied by racial interpretations, were variously identified as laziness, sadness and arrogance (e.g. C. O. Bunge, Nuestra America3), or anti-materialist, spiritual qualities as in Jose Rodo's Ariel,4 or inequality being the result of a collective sense of inferiority as in Profile of Man and Culture in Mexico by Samuel Ramos.5