Imperialism and Underdevelopment: A Theoretical Perspective and a Case Study of Puerto Rico
AbstractNeither orthodox development theory nor dependency theory, which emerged as a reaction to it, have been able to adequately account for the existence and persistence of underdevelopment in the Third World. As a result, there has been an attempt to construct a Marxist theory of underdevelopment that correctly understands the functioning of capitalism and the capitalist mode of production. Such attempts can be found in the work of Kay, Warren, Palloix and others. It is argued here, however, that even these theories, though an ad vance beyond dependency theory, are still wanting in their analysis of under development. They postulate an invariate capitalism with determined laws without recognizing the existence of stages of capitalist development, particularly imperialism. This paper attempts to develop a theory of underdevelopment of the Third World which utilizes the concept of social formation and incorporates the impact of the imperialist stage of capitalism which revolutionizes the means of production while, at the same time, it maintains and preserves precapitalist forms of production. The paper then turns to a case study of Puerto Rico in the present period to assess the impact of imperialist-dominated capitalist development.