Social Scientist. v 11, no. 127 (Dec 1983) p. 67.

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AYSE TRAK, DEVELOPMENT LITERATURE AND WRITERS FROM UNDERDEVELOPED COUNTRIES : THE CASE OF TURKEY, Working Paper, Centre for Developing Area Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1983.

THE AUTHOR of this working paper is severely critical of most of the existing literature on the development possibilities of Third World countries. He tries to find in the writings of Turkish economists of the 1920's, a difference in approach which could be of relevance today. The effort is however far from a happy one. Trak's condemnation of bourgeois development economics is more emotive than intellectual. Coupled with his apparent lack of familiarity with the Marxist tradition, Trak's rejection of both the "capitalist and socialist models" of social progress remains an empty assertion. Further, from what one can gather about the three Turkish economists whom Trak concerns himself with, it would appear that they, writing in the 1920's and 1930's, were fairly perceptive bourgeois nationalists—a fairly well known genus. The paper nevertheless is worth commenting upon, because the heady mixture of national pride, egalitarianism and the glorification of traditional institutions, does constitute today an important part of the prescription of populist regimes in a formidable number of underdeveloped countries.

The bourgeois elements in those underdeveloped countries (UDC's) where no developed national bourgeoisie exists, face a particular dilemma—on the one hand to achieve industrial progress while remaining independent from Imperialism, for which it is necessary to carry the masses along with them; on the other hand, to retain and consolidate the privileges of a ruling class. The consequent populist ruling class ideology based on aggressive nationalism, professed egalitarianism, a 'new5 model of development, neither capitalist nor socialist, drawing the techniques of production (and warfare) from Western science, but the ethical, moral and juridical basis—that is, the spiritual basis—from tradition, denying the existence of classes and hence of the possibility of class conflict within these societies, is all too familiar to require elaboration. It is in this light that the paper by Trak needs to be seen and the necessity of debunking the spiritual locomotive of industrial progress appreciated.

Ayse Trak also succeeds in bringing home a few hard facts. Undcrdevelopment is comprehensive. It envelops not just the sphere of economic activity, but also the abilities to perceive and analyse. He sees

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