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Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America: Historical Studies of Chile and Brazil


Paperback, 343 pages

ISBN-13: 978-0-85345-093-1

Released: January 1967

The four essays in this book offer a sweeping reinterpretation of Latin American history as an aspect of the world-wide spread of capitalism in its commercial and industrial phases. Dr. Frank lays to rest the myth of Latin American feudalism, demonstrating in the process the impossibility of a bourgeois revolution in a part of the world which is already part and parcel of the capitalist system.

Dr. Frank’s analysis in these studies centers on the metropolis-satellite structure of the world capitalist system, which consigns subordinate parts of that system to continual underdevelopment. One particular feature of capitalist underdevelopment receives special emphasis in each essay. The essay on Chile stresses the loss and misappropriation of economic surplus. The short essay on the “Indian problem” contends that the basis of this problem is the extension of surplus expropriation to the furthest reaches of society. The phenomenon of uneven regional development receives more detailed analysis in the study on Brazil. Finally, the monopolistic structure of capitalism is the theme of the last study on Brazilian agriculture.

It is Dr. Frank’s contention that, to be intellectually and socially responsible, social scientists must shed the scientific and political stereotypes which Marxists and non-Marxists alike have largely inherited from the era of liberalism. “Like the role of the bourgeoisie in the satellites of the capitalist system,” he says, “the place of metropolitan economic, political, social, and cultural liberalism has passed into history. To free those whom this liberalism has enslaved and underdeveloped, we shall need a new political economy of growth.”

Andre Gunder Frank (1929-2005) was an economic theorist, historian, and sociologist, and is considered a founder of Dependency Theory and World Systems Theory. He taught in universities around the world, and was the author of many books that continue to be regarded as classics.

Publication Date: January 1967

Number of Pages: 224

Paperback ISBN: 9780853450931