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The Industrialization of Puerto Rico, 1948-1980: Between Classical and Dependency Theory

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image of Journal of Developing Societies

This paper is a study of Puerto Rico's development experience from 1948 to 1980. It examines the triadic articulation of colonial, neocolonial and industrial status that has characterized this development, in terms of two major contending schools of imperialism and development: the classical Marxist and dependency theories. Taking Puerto Rico as a case in point, the paper argues that both classical and dependency theories have tended to give a one-dimensional picture of the history of imperialism, insofar as they have not differentiated any stages of imperialist accumulation. It argues that the world division of labor, and the development of the periphery, have been punctuated by three distinct forms of accumulation: independent merchant's capital, free-trade imperialism, and finance capital. It shows that "underdevelopment" is not determined by imperialism as such, but represents a particular moment in the history of capital accumulation, namely independent merchant's capital.


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