Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism

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The Origins of Underdevelopment


"[The] process of economic i nexorably widening the absolute gap between the rich and poor nations of the world and thus the problems of underdevelopment and overdevelopment are undeniably linked"


The above stat ement, which you are to either defend or challenge based on research of your country, is from a 1971 book, "The Limits to Growth" which was the result of work conducted by a groups at MIT. It was their conclusion that the economic activities, policies and priorities of the developed western states do not coincide with the needs or concerns of the developing world.

The study concluded that the Bretton Woods advocacy of opening up the economies of the developing nations, left them vulnerable to exte rnal political and economic forces. Since the conference, the world has seen severe underdevelopment as well as overdevelopment and few have been untouched.

People in underdeveloped nations often live in dire poverty. Such factors as structural ad justment policies of the Bretton Woods institutions are a factor in the underdevelopment and the ills of those in these nations.

However, overdevelopment has led to such problems as social issues, disintegration of the family, violence, increased suicide and higher crime. All are symptoms that accompany the self centered lifestyles of consumer nations.

Overdevelopment often occurs at the expense of others. Many underdeveloped nations have lost vast amounts of resources to feed the wants of the overdeveloped nations. For instance, the autos owned by U.S. households, use 1/3 of the worlds annual supply of petroleum. Overdeveloped nations could not exist without other nations giving up their riches.



The Rise of the Corporation, the Multilateral Institution, and the Capital Controller

Book chapters

The World Bank and the Need for Reform

Development Model

Beyond Bretton Woods by Korten

Brain Drain



Prior to the online discussion, you should familiarize yourself with your countries history bot h before and after the Bretton Woods Conference. This course will focus on the time period from the date of the conference until today, but, the history of your country will be relevant to many of the topics. Explore how your country has developed or its lack of development, if you feel that it has failed to develop to its full potential. Be prepared to discuss development issues online.



By the due date in the schedule, y ou are to complete and turn in by email, a paper giving the conclusions of the research on the development of your country since Bretton Woods. Papers will be graded on content, rather than length, however, this topic cannot be discussed in one or two pag es. Be sure to discuss what influence the Bretton Woods Conference had on the development of your country. Papers must be submitted via email to: by the due date in the schedule.



The following are not mandatory readings, but are readings (books) which discuss the topic that you will be researching. Contact your library to determine if they are available to you. These a re by all means not all inclusive and there are many other sources available.

C.Kay 1989 "Latin American Theories of Development and Underdevelopment" Routledge

S.Corbridge (1986) "Capitalist World Development: A Critique of Radical Devel opment Geography", chapter 2 Macmillan

B. Hettne (1990) "Development Theory and the Three Worlds", chapters 2,3,4 Longman

J. Larrain (1989) "Theories of Development: Capitalism, Colonialism and Dependency", chapters 3,4,5 Polity Press

R.Peet (1991) "Global Capitalism: Theories of Societal Development", chapters 3,4,5 Routledge

K.Post and P.Wright (1988) "Socialism and Underdevelopment" Routledge

L.Sklair (1991) Sociology of the Global System" chapter 1 Harvester/Whea tsheaf

D. Apter (1987) Rethinking Development" Sage

Apthorpe and Krahl (1986) "Development Studies: Critique and Renewal" Brill

P. Elkins ( 1992) "A New World Order: Grassroots Movements for Social Change" Routledge

J. Moms en (1991) Women and Development in the Third World " Routledge

R. Pomfret (1991) "Diverse Paths of Economic Development" Harvester/Wheatsheaf

M. Lister (1988) "The EC and the Developing World" Avebury

G. Conway and E. Barbier (1990 ) "After the Green Revolution" Earthscan

P. Buckley and J.Clegg (1991) "Multinational Enterprises in Less Developed Countries" Macmillan

D. Ghai "The IMF and the South: The Social Impact of Crisis and Adjustment" Zed Book




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