Seminar in Economic Development

"The challenges to the adoption of industrial policies are primarily political, not technical. One of the reasons why governments have not focused on policies to enhance indigenous manufacturing capabilities in specific areas has been the prevalence of the Washington Consensus policies during the last twenty years. Industrial policies under ISI were often not successful, when they only provided incentives -- like subsidies or protection without a clear date of termination -- but no enforceable accountability. But they were very successful when they included both, as evidenced by the experience of the Asian Tigers."

Eva Paus, from Foreign Investment, Development, and Globalization: Can Costa Rica Become Ireland?

Economics 314 Spring 2002 Tuesdays 1:15-3:45 PM in Skinner 210

Course Description
Dr. Satya J. Gabriel
Professor of Economics
Course Calendar   e-mail:
Course Objectives
FAX: 413-538-2323
Course Forum
Office Hours:  TBA
Term Paper


Course Description:

This is a seminar course in economic development.  All seminars are speaking intensive.  However, this course is officially classified as "speaking intensive" and will therefore require an extraordinary degree of student participation.  As a student in the course, you must be prepared to lead critical discussions of theories in economic development, participate in debates, and present your research.  Consider yourself one of the co-teachers of this course.  You are, therefore, as responsible for making the teaching and learning experience rich and exciting as any other member of our semester-long collective.  Thus, it will be in the spirit of partnership that we will explore a range of possible ways to enrich our discussion of the underlying theoretical assumptions and limitations of the orthodox and heterodox development theories that make up the raw material of our seminar. 

Economic development is usually thought of as a course in poor countries.  We reject this perception of development.  Economic development is defined as a transformation in economic processes and the underlying economic structure (of institutions and physical infrastructure) of a social formation such that the economic potential of that social formation is increased.  All social formations face the problem of development.  The USA, despite having achieved preeminent political and economic power on the planet, must be continually transformed in order to sustain economic growth and improved quality of life.  The same is true of the European Community, Japan, and so on.  In other words, academic theories of economic development must be able to make sense of the process of transformation, no matter where that process occurs.  (Nevertheless, because those areas of the planet considered on the periphery of the "Empire" tend to be neglected in other courses, we will focus our empirical analysis on such social formations.)  Thus, the study of economic development presents us with a complex problem set:  everything matters to the process of transformation in social relationships and institutions.  What are the impediments to economic development?  What is the role of political and cultural processes in economic development?  What financial market arrangements foster economic development?  Is capitalism necessary for economic development?  If so, what type of capitalism?  Is import substitution incompatible with export promotion policies?  How has the environment for development been altered by the continued advance of globalization?  Are the answers to these questions contingent on context?  If so, how?  What can we learn from concrete case studies?  For example, what can we learn about economic development by examining the Asian economic crisis of 1996-1998 or Japan's decade long stagnation or the implosion of Argentina's process of pro-capitalist liberalization?  We will critically read and discuss a range of theoretical works on economic development to see how they answer these and other questions. 

Texts:  Hardt and Negri's Empire and Burkett and Hart-Landsberg's Development, Crisis, & Class Struggle are available through the Odyssey Book Shop.  A packet of readings is now available from the main economics department office.  See Dawn Larder. 

Requirements: This course builds on the knowledge acquired in EC 213, Economic Development.  A student who is concerned that she may have inadequate preparation for this course should feel free to contact me at extension 2043 or by e-mail (sgabriel).

Course calendar
Jan. 29 Course introduction, assignments, & clarifications
Amartya Sen, "The Concept of Development," Chapter 1 in Handbook of Development Economics, Volume 1, pp. 9-26.
Feb. 5-12 Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire, Harvard University Press, 2000
Gabriel, Globalization (online)
Development & the Asian Economic Crisis
Feb. 19-March 5 Burkett and Hart-Landsberg, Development, Crisis, and Class Struggle, St. Martin's Press, 2000
Additional Readings TBA
The Chinese Case of Rapid Economic Transformation & Growth.
March 12 Gabriel, China Essay Series (online).
Neoclassicalism (Neoliberalism) and the Globalization of Poverty
March 26

Susan George and Fabrizio Sabelli, excerpts from Faith and Credit:  The World Bank's Secular Empire
Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty
Arthur McEwan, Neo-liberalism or Democracy?  Economic Strategy, Markets, and Alternatives for the 21st Century
James Crotty, excerpt from "Structural Contradictions of the Global Neoliberal Regime"
Mieke Meurs, excerpt from "Are Markets Like Mushrooms?  And Other Neoliberal Quandries"
Is the Concept of Neocolonialism Still Relevant?
April 2 J. M. Blaut, The Colonizer's Model of the World --- Geographical Diffusionism and Eurocentric History
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital:  Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else
Typologies versus World Systems
April 9 Fei and Ranis, Growth and Underdevelopment from an Evolutionary Perspective.
Dick Bryan, "Global Accumulation and Accounting for National Economic Identity"
Immanuel Wallerstein, The Capitalist World Economy
April 16 Rene Veron, "The "New" Kerala Model:  Lessons for Sustainable Development"
Gill Seyfang and Ruth Pearson, "Time for Change:  International experience in community currencies".
Case Study:  Belize Rural Women's Association:
Gabriel, Belize Rural Women's Association, Revolving Loan Fund, & Women's Cooperatives
Student Presentations
April 23-May 12  Readings will be selected by the presenters.

Click Here to Submit Evaluation of Student Presentation


Learning Objectives:

This is a seminar course in which each student is expected to actively participate. The primary objective is to enhance the student's ability to understand and critique theories of economic development.

Research (Term) Papers:

As a speaking intensive course, students are expected to present their semester research to other students in the form of a presentation. The research presentation requires a carefully thought out thesis within economic development (which we will have discussed in some detail prior to your beginning research and presentation preparation), to deploy appropriate theoretical tools necessary in advancing that thesis, to show that you have made a significant effort to understand the existing literature relevant to your thesis, and to demonstrate where your thesis and arguments fit into the relevant debate(s) in economic development. You should indicate where you find problems with the existing literature and where arguments within that literature have provided the raw material for your own theoretical construction. To summarize, the best way to organize your research presentation would be to take a clearly stated position in an existing debate and defend your thesis with evidence and logical argument.This includes those presentations which will be centered around a case study of a particular country.

It is your responsibility to make sure your presentation is scheduled at a time when you are certain to be present.  Inability to do this could seriously jeopardize your chance to make a presentation and risk a low course grade.

Each student is responsible for providing other students with supporting materials necessary to enhance the value of the presentation, such as bibliographies, readings, etc.

Library of Congress Country Studies

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Copyright © 2002, Satya Gabriel, Economics Department, Mount Holyoke College.