The Rise and Fall of the Dependency Movement: Does It Inform Underdevelopment Today?

How to Cite

Sanchez, O. (2003). The Rise and Fall of the Dependency Movement: Does It Inform Underdevelopment Today?. Estudios Interdisciplinarios De América Latina Y El Caribe, 14(2). Retrieved from


While dependency theory as a conscious, explicit approach to development can be considered a thing of the past, its legacy is very much with us. The impact that dependency ideas held in Latin American centers of academia was pervasive, while also gaining many adherents in Europe and the United States. Perhaps more importantly, this impact went beyond scholarly circles. As Falcoff (1980, 797) observed, "dependency explanations…are no longer confined to academic sanctuaries; they are now the common currency of a growing body of generals bishops, editors, chiefs of state, even Latin American businessmen." What gave the dependency perspective particular allure is that, unlike other previous paradigms, it was held to be a distinctively Latin American analysis of Latin American development. Its legacy can be discerned from the pronouncements of Latin American scholars, policymakers and politicians who choose to put the emphasis on the structural conditions of the world economy that work against the prospects of the region's economies. Understanding the dependency movement is important, not least because it is a consequential episode in the history of social thought in Latin America. It also marks one of those rare instances in which ideas produced in the Third World come to influence the thinking of scholars in the developed world. Indeed, the supply of underdevelopment theory (principally structuralism and dependency) has been regarded as "Latin America's major contribution to the social sciences."

Copyright © 2012-2013 Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe.
ISSN 0792-7061
Editores:  Ori Preuss; Nahuel Ribke
Instituto Sverdlin de Historia y Cultura de América Latina, Escuela de Historia
Universidad de Tel Aviv, Ramat Aviv,
P.O.B. 39040 (69978), Israel.
Correo electrónico:
Fax: 972-3-6406931