Questioning Development Orthodoxy


  • Cameron Weber
  • Matthias Thiemann


development, heterodox economics, brain drain, Hegelian dialectics


This paper traces the history and current state of international economic development through its institutions and attempts to reassess these institutions and their processes in a heterodox manner. There are many stereotypes and clichés to the foreign assistance industry: that it takes from the poor in rich countries and gives to the rich in poor countries; that it provides laboratories for economists and other social scientists to apply theories abroad that they would never attempt at home (the most obvious examples of these are population control programs and the privatization of pension funds); and that development creates “brain drain” from indigenous institutions to the very institutions of development itself. Although a brief summary of the major research programs in development is given, the paper does not attempt to disprove or confirm any of these or other research programs and their corresponding policy recommendations. The purpose of the paper is to question the very nature of international economic development through a historical and philosophical re-examination of its institutional constructs. The Hegelian dialectical method of analysis is applied to the institutions of economic development and is used to ask, “what next and why?”




How to Cite

Weber, C., & Thiemann, M. (2016). Questioning Development Orthodoxy. The New School Economic Review, 2(1), 5–21. Retrieved from