2.3 DEPENDENCIA THEORIES
The multitude of approaches1
combined under the heading 'Depen-dencia' like imperialism
theories are based on the assumption of an external dependency
of developing countries which makes exploitation possible.
However, while imperialism theories hold the dependence relation
to be directly responsible for the exploitation of developing
countries, the dependencia theories develop this concept further.
They postulate that external dependencies lead to an internal
structural deformation which perpetuates the external dependency.
The process started with the political and military dependency
of colonies which have been exploited through the destruction
of the indigenous life style and culture, economic extraction,
and forced integration into the international division of
labour. This asymmetric integration caused structural changes
in the peripheral societies: an economy oriented towards the
requirements of he industrial countries and a functional dependency
of the traditional sector on this export-oriented sector.
The dynamics of reproduction of the modern sector in developing
countries are similar to those of industrialized countries,
thus leading to an extreme stratification, i.e., externally
oriented elites and marginalized masses. Elites accept the
norms and values of the industrialized countries and cooperate
in maintaining a status quo.
The deformation of the economic and social system leads
to structural heterogeneity: rich elites and marginal masses,
the destruction of traditional economy oriented towards fulfilling
the internal needs. Thus, the centre-periphery relationship
reproduces itself within developing countries. Between metropolis
and rural hinterland, relations are similar to those existing
between industrial and developing countries.
Underdevelopment, from this point of view, is not a phase
on the way to industrialization but rather a consequence of
capitalism. In its concentration on external factors, possible
internal conditions are neglected or considered irrelevant.
Examples of countries with limited external contacts, like
Nepal, Thailand, and Ethiopia, cast doubt on the general applicability
of this partial explanation. Dependencia theories do not concentrate
on strategies for development beyond the demand for structural
changes, independence, and participation.
In recent times, however, the strategy of autocentric development
has been aiming to overcome this shortage (SENGHAAS 29). Development
should take place on the basis of local resources. In order
to make this possible, a temporary dissociation from the world
market controlled by capitalists is considered necessary.
This dissociation should not be understood as autarkic. It
allows for a certain degree of cooperation, a selective relation
to industrialized countries. The goal is a reformation of
the internal social and economic structure and, afterwards,
re-entry in the international relations under conditions of
equal rights. The way to reach this goal is via a self-reliance
policy, i.e., a development according to the felt needs of
the population based on local resources, increase of agricultural
production to satisfy basic needs, concentration of decentralization
with the participation of the masses. While this line of thinking
is obviously based on the Chinese and Tanzanian experiences,
it is on a high level of abstraction with pre-conditions which
are difficult to fulfil and rather weak for concrete application.
It has more the character of a goal vision that of a strategy
1. See WOHLKE, M., WOGAU, P.V.,
MARTENS, W., Die neuere entwicklungstheoretische Bibliographic
(Edition der Iberomaerikana Reihe II, Bibliographische Reihe
2), Frankfurt 1977.