Conclusion: Development and Inequality in World Society

  • Richard Münch
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


The debate about the international division of labour, coming along with expanding world trade, has gone through a number of phases characterized by dominant definitions of the situation since the 1950s (cf. Held et al. 1999). At the beginning, economic development theory and sociological modernization theory expected continuous advancement of developing countries along the tracks of the industrial countries as a result of capital inflow and educational upgrading of the population. In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Dependencia theory pointed to the unequal terms of trade, and world systems theory to the shift of exploitation to the relationship between capitalist core countries and developing peripheral ones. The outcome should be increasing inequality between industrial and developing countries (Sunkel 1969; Cardoso and Faletto 1979; Hopkins and Wallerstein 1982). On the tracks of the Uruguay Round of the GATT and its successful transformation into the WTO in 1994, the teaching of free trade in the tradition of Adam Smith (1776/1952) and David Ricardo (1817/1977) has become the dominant position. From this perspective, each participating country should benefit from global labour division (Bhagwati and Hudec 1996).


Income Inequality World Trade Country Group Uruguay Round Labour Division 
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Copyright information

© Richard Münch 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Münch
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of BambergGermany
  2. 2.Zeppelin UniversityFriedrichshafenGermany

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