Dados vol. 25 n. 1 Rio de Janeiro 1982

Ascensão e Declínio da Economia do Desenvolvimento

Hirschman, Albert


This is a survey of the rise and decline of development economics as it sought to become a distinct subdiscipline of economics, endowed with a theoretical structure for economic analysis and policy prescriptions of its own. Such a structure rested on what the author dubs the rejection of the monoeconomics claim (or the notion that underdeveloped countries are so intrinsically different from existing industrial economies that unrevised orthodox economics becomes a misleading instrument of analysis when applied to the Third World) and the acceptance of the mutual-benefits claim (or the belief that economic relations between the developed and the underdeveloped worlds can be reformed to benefit both). The author argues that at its inception development economics . greatly profited from its analogical association with Keynesian economics. The latter not only opened the way for the notion that different economic contexts required different economic theories, but also made possible the application of the economics of unemployment to the analysis of rural underemployment in developing countries. The decline of development economics, in tum, is seen to reside in two main events. First, development economics increasingly carne under attack by both orthodox economics and neo-marxism on the grounds that the industrialization of the peripheral countries had not been nearly as smoothly linear as was originally expected. Second, there was a noticeable increase in self-doubt within the new subdiscipline stemming from the social and economic inequalities that were seen to accompany industrialization in the periphery, as well as from the "disasters" that occurred at the political level.

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Ascensão e Declínio da Economia do Desenvolvimento