State and Law in Third World Poverty and Underdevelopment

  • Ann Seidman
  • Robert B. Seidman
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


By the twentieth century, societies achieved purposeful social change primarily through the exercise of state power.1 The paradox of third world poverty amidst potential global plenty, therefore, reflected a failure of the state. This chapter: (1) depicts a model of distorted third world patterns of resource allocation; (2) demonstrates the way the state and the legal order pre-formed the institutions — the repetitive patterns of social behavior — that shaped those resource patterns to benefit ruling oligarchies; (3) argues that merely replacing individual governors cannot alleviate third world poverty and powerlessness; (4) explains why, instead, development requires changing inherited institutions, which, in turn, implies the instrumental use of law; and (5) shows why copying other countries’ laws and institutions rarely worked.


Foreign Firm World Country Legal Order Gold Coast Colonial Rule 
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Copyright information

© Ann Seidman and Robert B. Seidman 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ann Seidman
    • 1
  • Robert B. Seidman
    • 2
  1. 1.School of LawBoston UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Boston UniversityUSA

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