Social Scientist. v 3, no. 26 (Sept 1974) p. 3.

Graphics file for this page

Developing Countries in the International Division of Labour

A special cycle of lectures on foreign trade topics was read some time ago in Brazil by J Viner, which later came out in book form.1 He was sharply critical of the attitude taken by the economists of the developing countries and unequivocally took up the cudgels for the present capitalist scheme of international division of labour and the traditional bourgeois theory of foreign trade. This book received a great deal of publicity as indeed did the work of R Prebisch,2 against which it was in large measure directed, which makes an inquiry into Viner's line of reasoning all the more interesting. He wants the developing countries to acquiesce in their role as primary producers for imperialist states, and launches into an argument designed to convince them that the production of export of agricultural produce is no less profitable for them than the development of an industry of their own. As examples he cites Denmark, which exports butter and bacon; New Zealand, which exports butter, lamb and wool;

and Australia, which supplies wheat and wool to the foreign markets. He also mentions certain states in the USA whicli are producers of agricultural commodities, partly for export. "That agriculture is not necessarily associated with poverty'^ writes Viner, '^becomes obvious when one considers Australia, New Zealand, Denmark or Iowa and Nebraska". 3

Back to Social Scientist | Back to the DSAL Page