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Anthony Payne, Nicola Phillips

ISBN: 978-0-745-63067-0 January 2010 Polity 196 Pages


The concept of development has never been in greater need of analysis and clarification than in the present era. Just about everyone is 'for' development as an assumed 'good', yet few seem to have a concrete idea of what the term actually entails.

Development offers a comprehensive and wide-ranging analysis of the various ways in which this important concept has been used in social and political analysis over the past 200 years. Starting with the classical theories that sought to explain the initial development of the industrialized world, the book moves on to consider the 'golden age' of development theory after 1945, before bringing debates right up to date by assessing current and future trends in development thinking. The evolution of development theory is charted in innovative ways, relating it concretely to the successes and failures of development both in different eras and places. In a fresh evaluation of the current debates on this concept, the authors suggest that the time has now come to move away from a specialist field of 'development studies', and instead to re-ground the study of development squarely within the intellectual project of a new political economy.

Written in a lively and engaging style, this book will provide a valuable point of access to past and current thinking on the concept of development for students across all the main social sciences.

Preface vii

Introduction 1

1 Classical Theories 10

2 Catch-up Theories 33

3 Golden Age Theories 56

4 Neoliberal and Neostatist Theories 85

5 Alternative Theories 118

6 Contemporary Theoretical Directions 145

Conclusion 174

Bibliography 184

Index 212

"Much more than a useful guide, it is an elaborate work in political economy that succeeds in the skilful task of putting studies about development on an independent baseline, situating it at the heart of the 'new political economy'."
Political Studies Review

"Payne and Phillips make a robust case for (re)integrating analysis of development into the intellectual project of political economy, anchored in classical theory. In a world with increasingly evident limits, this comprehensive intervention is timely and critical, offering historical-theoretical support for a holistic approach to development."
Philip McMichael, Cornell University

"'Development' is the name we give to the third most important set of issues facing mankind, after nuclear proliferation and climate change. Anthony Payne and Nicola Phillips explain the evolution of the intellectual debate about the subject, starting with the eighteenth century classical political economists and continuing up to the present. Comprehensive and elegantly written, their study is about the best available between two covers."
Robert Wade, London School of Economics

"This is a timely, valuable and important book which clarifies significantly the often vaguely used concept of 'development' by placing it firmly in the contemporary global context and anchoring it authoritatively in a multi-disciplinary understanding of the interactions of political and economic processes."
Adrian Leftwich, University of York

"This book makes a refreshing contribution to the understanding of the development debates and, more importantly, it rehabilitates the concept by rooting it in the broader intellectual enterprise of political economy. A most welcome resource. A job well done!"
Diana Tussie , FLACSO, Argentina


  • A short introduction to the concept of "development" which critically evaluates what this concept means in the modern world.
  • The book analyses the various ways in which development has been used in social and political analysis over the past 200 or so years.
  • The book presents and charts the evolution of development theory in innovative ways, relating it concretely to the successes and failures of development both in different eras and places.