Literary Series


What is Underdevelopment?

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What is Underdevelopment?

    Underdevelopment is not absence of development, because every people have developed in one way or another and to a greater or lesser extent.

    Underdevelopment makes sense only as a means of comparing levels of development. It is very much tied to the fact that human social development has been uneven and from a strictly economic viewpoint some human groups have advanced further by producing more and becoming wealthier. At all times, therefore, one of the ideas behind underdevelopment is a comparative one. It is possible to compare the economic conditions at two different periods for the same country and determine whether or not it had developed.
    A second and even more indispensable component of modern underdevelopment is that it expresses a particular relationship of exploitation: namely, the exploitation of one country by another. All of the countries named as ‘’underdeveloped’’ in the world are exploited by others; and the underdevelopment with which the world is now preoccupied is a product of capitalist, imperialist, and colonialist exploitation. Africa and Asian societies were developing independently until they were taken over directly or indirectly by the capitalist powers. When that happened, exploitation increased and the export of surplus ensued, depriving the societies of the benefit of their natural resources and labour. That is a integral part of underdevelopment in the contemporary senses.
    In some quarters, it has often been thought wise to substitute the term “developing» for underdeveloped” Once of the reasons for so doing is to avoid any am pleasantness which may be attached to the second term, which might be interpreted as moaning underdeveloped mentally, physically, morally, or in ay other respect. Actually, if  “underdevelopment were related to anything other than comparing economies, than then the most underdeveloped country in the word would be the U.S.A, which practises external oppression on a massive scale, while internally there is a blend of exploitation, brutality, and psychiatric disorder.

        From W. Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

To ensure :’’s’ensuivre, résulter”
On a massive scale : «  à très grande échelle »
A blend: a mixture.


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