ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Structuralism Fights Back

Poverty and Power: The Role of Institutions and the Market in Development edited by John Cameron with Hans Ramharak and Ken Cole; Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1995; Rs 395, THE 1980s witnessed the demise of the Structuralist position in development studies and the ascent of the neo-liberal position which relentlessly criticised two characteristics of the Structuralist tradition. Firstly, they charged the Structuralists for de-emphasising the importance of relative prices as a means of affecting distributive and productive outcomes. The Structuralists emphasised non-price variables such as big investment pushes (Rosenstein-Rodan) and the cumulative causation of inequality (Myrdal) as important in affecting economic responses. Secondly, the style and extent of state intervention favoured by Structuralists was also criticised by the neo-liberals. The Structuralists assumed that reformist states exist. This assumption was also criticised by the Marxists who pointed out that redistribution of incomes would be against the interests of the owners of capital as well as by the non-Marxists who argued that governments have to reward interest groups that keep them in power and so would not jeopardise the status quo.

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