SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

New Developmentalism and the Origin of Methodological Nationalism in the Analysis of Development

Lucia Pradella (University of Venice, Ca' Foscari, and SOAS, Development Studies)

Date: 14 January 2014Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 14 January 2014Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G50

Type of Event: Seminar

The outbreak of the global economic crisis and the development of the BRICS economies reinforced the critique of neoliberalism raised by the ‘new developmental’ current, composed of such scholars as Robert Wade, Ha-Joon Chang, Linda Weiss, Alice Amsden, Erik S. and Sophus A. Reinert, and Jomo Kwame Sundaram. Emphasising the capacity for economic intervention of the ‘developmental state’, these scholars have given a series of policy prescriptions aimed at promoting development and limiting poverty in the global South. This paper analyses the origins of the methodological nationalism that characterises the new developmental current by examining the work of the founding father of economic nationalism, Friedrich List, and Marx’s critique of it: a topic that, with a few exceptions, has been underestimated or ignored by both new developmental economists and Marxist scholars. This paper argues that the international sphere had a primary importance in political economy from the sixteenth century onwards, and that classical political economists elaborated, although contradictorily, elements of a theory of uneven and combined development. Friedrich List reinforced a vision of development as non-antagonistic, invoking extra-economic factors in order to present late industrialisation as beneficial for the nation as a whole. By affirming the centrality of labour, Marx’s critique of List offers deep insights into the political economy of development, and lays the basis for reflecting about real alternatives to neoliberal capitalism.

Organiser: Dr Dae-oup Chang and Dr Paolo Novak

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