The Uses and Misuses of Development Theory
(Section B)

by Johannes Dragsbaek Schmidt

The New Comparative Political Economy and the Sociology of Development
Methodologically, comparative political economy analysis is employed with selected slices of the national contingent historical paths as units of comparison throughout the research. Comparative political economy analyses examine historical sequences to understand social dynamics and transformation of cultures and sociopolitical structures. It is distinctively appropriate for developing explanations of macro-historical phenomena of which there are only a few cases.

What is new and what is provoking is the argument that the division in development theory between modernization and dependency theory is claimed to build on, an artificial confrontation between two approaches that might complement rather than confront each other.

In fact what is happening is far more complex. Gradually in the course of the conflict, a body of studies has grown up that combines the comparative historical method with certain of the insights of dependency and world-system thinking and even recovers some of the hypotheses of the modernization approach in altered form. They have attacked a variety of substantive issues and are eclectic in their methodology, but share a number of characteristics that in combination serves to distinguish them from earlier work: 1) political and economic development cannot fruitfully be examined in isolation from each other; 2) sensitivity to international factors (without determination); 3) historical and national contingency; 4) comparative framework (Evans and Stephens 1988/1989: 713-714). These studies do not offer a theoretical paradigm in the strict sense of a set of axiomatic relationships that can be used to generate universalistic predictions of developmental outcomes. They do share some working hypotheses about the likely political and economic consequences of different patterns of interaction between states and classes. They also share common assumptions about what problems are most central to the study of development and what factors should be taken into account in order to understand outcomes in specific cases (Evans & Stephens 1988: 740).

The epistemology of this approach builds to a large degree on such scholars as Gerschenkron (1962), Polanyi (1957), and Barrington Moore (1981). These frameworks share the assumption that the link between economic models and political forms, classes of varying strengths coming together in coalitions and compromises or opposing each other in struggles in given historical contexts, the historical specificity of economic development models due to the historical development of the world economic system, state strength as a variable, and the state as a historical actor are all central themes to varying degrees in these authors' contributions.

As mentioned earlier, the influence of dependency and world systems theories on the new comparative political economy framework has provided the method of approach suggested by Frank (1967) and Baran (1973). Both works build their arguments around historical case-studies that included an integrated examination of local and international actors. At both local and international levels, they emphasized interests rather than norms and values, economic and political structures rather than cultural patterns. Taking into consideration the historical structural approach of Cardoso and Faletto (1979), which I referred to above, the importance of class alliances and conflicts that cross national boundaries is clear. The new element, however, is the influence of the international context in shaping these alliances and conflicts inside national boundaries (Evans and Stephens 1988/1989: 719).
(Figure 1)
In Figure 1. I have schematized the dynamic between three sets of international institutions influencing economic policy-making (Broad 1988: 6-7):
1. Private institutions, consisting primarily of transnational corporations (TNCs) and transnational banks (TNBs).

2. Core states (according to Wallerstein's terminology), which comprise principally the former colonial powers and which exert influence through the departments of treasury, state and overseas aid.

3. Multilateral institutions, which, in addition to IMF and the World Bank, include the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and its recent successor the World Trade Organization (WTO), regional development banks such as Asian Development Bank (ADB), and United Nations agencies.
Each of these sets interacts with and nurtures a corps of technocratic bureaucrats who share a conviction of the importance of maximizing economic linkages with the world economy. Opposing these technocrats stands a group of nationalistic bureaucrats committed to developing the domestic market first. In the simplified schematization of Figure 1., the state is therefore split into two factions: a transnationalist component, and an economic nationalistic one.

Another major set of national institutions influencing economic policy-making - domestic private corporations, financial institutions, and capitalists - can also be divided into two factions. Each tends to reflect a mind set grounded in economic interests. The overwhelming majority of entrepreneurs in any late-industrializer are engaged in economic activities that serve national markets. Most of these entrepreneurs are small businesses; a few grow to become giant conglomerates. But whether big or small, their own interests and preservation tend to lead them to favour economic policies that protect themselves and their country's resources from the whims of the world market. Thus, they can be called economic nationalists. However, the aim is not to chart progress or the reverse along a presumed unilinear path of societal development, but rather to uncover, interpret, and explain distinctive patterns of development.

On the other hand a numerically small but, in some cases, economically powerful group of businessmen - and women have linked up with transnational banks and corporations in joint ventures, licensing agreements, marketing arrangements, and connections that tend to wed them ideologically to policies furthering free international flows of goods and capital. This faction can be called transnationalists.

Quite often, representatives from each of these private-sector factions are shuffled in and out of government positions. Hence, the existence of nationalist and transnationalist factions within the state is often grounded in part in the economic interests of the bureaucrats. However, none of this is static, and this framework should be interpreted as non-deterministic and the relationship between the external and internal factors is unresolved. The absolute size of each faction in both the private and the state sector varies widely in each late-industrializer and across time. Furthermore the influence of peak representative organizations, legal or illegal, of labour and peasants is not excluded per se but might be able due to various measures to impact on economic policy-making.

However, formal and informal collaboration, based on shared interests, exists among a number of the major sets of actors and is denoted by connecting lines of squares in Figure 1. Just as the three international sets of institutions and the local elites influence economic policy-making, economic policy decisions have repercussions on each set of institutions and on factions thereof (indicated by the broken rays in figure 1.). In Broad's study it is the mix of influence on policy-making in the Philippines - the shaded ray at the center of the Figure 1. - that constitutes the major force in the emergence of the would-be NICs. It is here that answers lie to how the World Bank and the IMF contribute to shifts in a late-industrializers dominant paradigm of development: "in particular, why would-be NICs were emerging; why it was that a country like the Philippines was shifting its overall economic direction from primary commodity-export-led growth to export-oriented industrialization in the late 1970s and early 1980s; and how it was that, by this period, the Bank's and the Fund's positions in Philippine policy-making were sufficiently well entrenched to enable them to play a major role in the transformation of industry and finance in that country" (Broad 1988: 9).

A framework for comparative analysis must combine a typology of growth trajectories in order to identify the variation across cases that I am trying to explain. The key distinction is between countries that industrialized through expansion of manufactured exports and those which sought to build an integrated industrial structure behind protective walls. Three other components of industrial strategy are important (some have been touched upon others are new): the instruments governments use to achieve their objectives; the balance between local, foreign, and state firms in industrialization; and the overall coherence of policy. The puzzle is to explain why countries adopted the industrial strategies they did, and why they sustained them over time.

To answer these questions, I follow Broad's analysis and add arguments about the sources of policy change drawn from three different levels of analysis: the international system, domestic coalitions, political institutions.

1) International chocks and pressures, and the domestic economic crisis associated with them, have been the most powerful stimuli for changes of policy.

2) Theories seeking to explain predict policy choice from the configuration of social forces - whether conceived in class, interest-group, or sectoral terms -have fundamental empirical and theoretical limitations. The influence of social forces on policy is undeniable, but it is always mediated by institutional setting. This distinctiveness is associated with the refusal to take for granted the relative strength of different classes or the character of relations among them. The strength of dominant and subordinate classes, like the strength and autonomy of the state, is taken as a variable (Also Evans and Stephens 1988/1989: 719).

3) Although international pressures may provide the stimulus and domestic social structure broadly constrains choice, policy change is heavily conditioned by the interests of political forces - in building and sustaining bases of support. The emphasis I give to politically motivated choice by state actors falls broadly within the realm of the institutional context within which political choice takes place. Finally, I follow Haggard in his emphasis that: "The state" is not only an actor but a set of institutions that exhibits continuity over time; a field of play that provides differential incentives for groups to organize. Because of variations in institutional structure, political elites differ in their organizational capabilities and the instruments they have at their disposal for pursuing their goals. Institutional variation is critical for understanding why some states are capable of pursuing the polices they do. It is at the intersection between choice and institutional constraint that political explanations of economic growth must be constructed (Haggard 1990: 3-4).

I argue that patterns of foreign direct investment and dependency are closely related to phases of growth and to government policies and incentives. The main adjustment challenge which faced many developing countries in the 1970s involved navigating an increasingly politicized international trading system. By the 1970s commercial borrowing far overshadowed foreign direct investment as a source of external capital. Viewed over a longer time frame, supply shocks and global macroeconomic trends have had a more profound effect on developing countries than has the multinational corporation (Haggard 1990: 20-21).

International pressure is the most powerful stimulus to policy reform. The strength of different social groups - agricultural interests, labor, and business - can constrain or widen the feasible set of policy reforms, but it is difficult to explain policy outcomes by reference to coalitional interests alone, particularly where social groups are poorly organized, interests are subject to uncertainty, and states are "strong". External shocks do provide a stimulus to reform, and social forces are broadly constraining; nonetheless, explaining the reform process demands we pay attention to the interests of politicians, the institutional context in which they operate, and the ideas available to them concerning economic growth. The international system can constrain state choice in two ways: through market pressures, and through political pressures (Haggard 1990: 28-29).

Thus we would expect external shocks to be met not only with discrete policy changes but with institutional innovations that tend to be centralizing and interventionary. They have a differential effect on countries pursuing inward-oriented strategies; much depends on size and the plausibility of "staying the course". Major powers possess various assets - military capability and aid funds in particular give them leverage over smaller states.

On the background of this discussion the justification for a closer look at the state as both actor and institution combined with a coalitional approach to policy looks at the interests and organizational power of dominant social actors; a statist or institutional approach, by contrast, explains policy in terms of the preferences and organizational power of state elites. These may include a rather broad set of political, military, and bureaucratic elites occupying offices in which authoritative allocative decisions are made, but I focus mainly on the role of top political leaders in the executive branch.

To summarize, policies reflect the effort to build and sustain coalitions, but available organizational resources expand or contract politicians' freedom of manoeuvre. Characteristics of the state as an institution - the degree of autonomy from social forces, the cohesion of the policy-making apparatus, and the available policy instruments - are crucial in understanding policy reform (Haggard 1990: 46). State autonomy may explain the capacity to formulate and execute an economic program, but it does not answer the nagging question where state interests come from. I have tried to illustrate and summarize these points in Figure 2 and 3.

One methodological point and possible source for capacity is about disentangling the influence of ideas: as suggested by Haggard, the plausibility of ideological arguments for policy choice increases with the degree of autonomy of political elites from societal or international constraints. When these constraints operate, it becomes more difficult to separate ideational and material variables; when political elites are autonomous, their ideological visions and "projects" weigh more heavily on the course of policy (Haggard 1990: 47).

Figure 2 : Internal and External Influences on Economic Policy-making
(Figure 2)

Neither the industrial organization analytical frame work nor the bilateral mo nopoly ap proach ex plains why the state assumes 'the po litical will' to bargain with TNCs or why sometimes if possible it chooses to establish controls over [them]. The new dependency writing recognized the role of the state in mediating dependency relations, but the theory of public policy required to establish the links between politics, state intervention, and firm behavior was not developed. The determinants of foreign direct investment are complex, and a complete account would consider macroeconomic variables as well as characteristics of the sector. 1) A simple factor-endowments approach that stresses the relationship between comparative advantage and patterns of investment. For a given endowment, three distinct levels of national policy can affect investment. a) basic property rights, b) the structure of incentives that result from trade, exchange-rate, and pricing policies. c) Finally, within the context of a given structure of property rights and development strategy, governments develop discrete policies toward particular sectors and firms, such as tax incentives and various regulatory controls. Some regulations, such as restrictions on equity, may have the effect of severely limiting multinational activity. If foreign investment is affected by national strategies, "dependency" must be seen as effect as well as cause (1990: 192-193).

The state is as central to the economics of development as to its politics. Economic rationality cannot be separated from political rationality - and it is expected that other developing societies exhibit the same characteristics as other late-industrializers that they consist of "politicized market economies" (Evans and Stephens 1988/1989: 724).

Recognition of the importance of state capacity, not simply in the sense of the prowess and perspicacity of technocrats within the state apparatus but also in the sense of an institutional structure that is durable and effective, is characteristic of what can be termed "the third wave of thinking about state and development" (Evans 1992: 141). The East Asian states are what Evans terms "embedded states" which in contrast to the "predatory" state such as Zaire have a large degree of autonomy, "depends on an apparently contradictory combination of Weberian bureaucratic insulation with intense immersion in the surrounding social structure. How this contradictory combination is achieved depends, of course, on both the historically determined character of the state apparatus and the nature of the social structure in which it is embedded..." (1992: 154).
(Figure 3)

The differences between three different types of states are illustrated in Figure 4. The predatory state with Zaire as example lacks bureaucratic capacity and has a weak organizational structure in its domestic setting. Furthermore, it lacks autonomy with regard to its ties and bargaining with international actors and institutions, and is also kleptopatrimoniast in the sense that it is highly corrupt and rent-seeking, is widespread through a personalized rule and more or less uncontrolled market. The intermediate state is illustrated by the Brazilian example. The state's internal structure is fragmented, divided, segmented and unstable but occasionally it has had a degree of embedded autonomy vis-a-vis external forces. In contrast, the developmental state has a high degree of embedded autonomy and some degree of insulation and social connectedness. This is enforced by a stable, coherent, and comprehensive bureaucratic organization - what Evans calls "reinforced Weberianism."

Let me finally elaborate a little bit on the concept of the "custodian state"(Schmidt 1997). The role of custodian highlights one aspect of the conventional role of regulators. All states formulate and enforce rules, but the thrust of rule-making varies. Some rules are primarily promotional, aimed at providing stimulus and incentives. Other regulatory schemes take the opposite tack, aiming to prevent or restrict the initiatives of private actors. The rubric "custodian" identifies regulatory efforts that privilege policing over promotion (also Evans 1995: 13). However, according to this line of thinking this is only one link of the state. The argument is further extended because many states in the developing world are acting as Custodian in its original meaning: As an official doorman.

The essential outline of this can be recapitulated in Evans three points (1995: 17): First, developmental outcomes depend on both the general character of state structures and the roles states pursue. Second, state involvement can be associated with transformation even if we take sectoral policies such as labor policy, land reforms or other redistributive policies as measures. Finally, an analysis of states and industrial transformation cannot stop with the emergence of the industrial landscape. Successful transformation changes the nature of the state's private counterparts, making effective future state involvement dependant on the reconstruction of state-society ties.

Let me finally recapitulate. The crisis of development theory reflects the more general crisis in the social sciences and society as such. Development theory as a distinct field in the social sciences has had an enormous influence on policy-making and important consequences for everyday life in developing societies. What I do want to stress here is the fact that markets are the functions of politics - and I have a strong feeling this is also the case in the Arctic. Developing societies are latecomer pursuing a catching-up process, meaning the transformation from agrarian subsistence to an industrial and service economy. But let me also ask whether we can really term a society for developed or underdeveloped if the state and policy-makers don't have any political economic autonomy; there is no indigenous bourgeoisie; petty bourgeoisie; working class, etc.? No independent or relatively minor national or local capital accumulation; low self-esteem (identity, dignity, respect, honour, recognition) meaning a lack of control of your own destiny and also implying limited freedom from 1) external dependence and dominance; trade policies; public and private aid; technology; education; values/life-styles, etc. Is this development or a willingness to be dominated and dependant?

Figure 4
Peter Evans: A Comparative Political Economy Perspective on the Third World State

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