chapter  10
20 Pages

The Case of Dependency Theory

WithTony Smith

From the perspective of dependency theory, the conventional American way of studying Third World "development" or "modernization" is an exercise in ideological obfuscation, deliberate or otherwise, designed to conceal the way imperialism works. This chapter is intended neither as a comprehensive survey of dependency theory literature nor as an effort to assess its practical significance as an ideological force mobilizing nationalist sentiment in the South today. It examines what seems to the author to be the most important theoretical assumption of this school, and subjects it and its chief corollaries to a thoroughgoing criticism. For dependency theory locates the terrible current problems of Third World economic development in past Northern exploitation of the South. The theory calls for a reordering of the international balance of power so that these problems may be solved. From the perspective of dependency theory, this spells the technological subservience of the South to the North.