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Accepted Paper:

The postcolonial political economy of commodity dependence  
Caroline Cornier (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

Dependency theory theorised colonial continuities in commodity sectors by focusing on external trade relations and but was discredited with the East Asia Miracle'. The paper seeks to identify frameworks that help analyse the colonial patterns and reproduction of export specialisation.

Paper long abstract:

Dependency theory theorises the ongoing colonial division of labour in the global economy. Its central thesis is that colonised countries continue to face structural limits to socio-economic transformation such as resource extractivism (Rodney 1973), dependent accumulation (Amin 1974) and financial dependence (Nkrumah 1965, Amin 1976). Some authors also focus specifically on the role of commodity production in countries’ unequal integration into the capitalist world market (Hopkins and Wallerstein 1977, 1994).Yet, most of these perspectives have been criticised for overfocusing on the role of external relations in peripheral countries economic development and dressing a too binary and unilineal picture of colonial history, and also been discredited by the Southeast Asian Economic ‘Miracle’ (Palma 2016). Against the backdrop of the cold war, development economists started turning away from historical analysis of social change and structural economic transformation (Gore 2000). Instead, attention shifted to improving poor economic performance through good governance and liberalisation according to Washington Consensus principles (Sender 1999) and, eventually, to achieving peripheral countries strategic integration into Global Value Chains (Gereffi 1994). Colonial continuities have only been readdressed recently by calls for a comeback of dependency theory as a research agenda (Kvangraven 2021) and structuralist subordinate financialisation literature (Bonizzi et al 2019). The paper assesses the place of colonial path dependencies in development economics from the discipline’s inception after WWII until today in order to identify valuable frameworks for the study of colonial patterns in commodity dependence today.

Panel P08
The colonial roots of commodity dependence
  Session 3 Thursday 27 June, 2024, -