Volume 44, Number 173,
April-June 2013
The Importance of Suitable Ideas
on Development and Globalization
Aldo Ferrer

Globalization and economic development in each country are closely related. Globalization provides opportunities, like market growth and access to investments and technology. But it is also accompanied by risks and threats. Globalization itself is neither good nor bad. Its influence in the development of each country depends on the ways in which it is linked to the network of globalization. For example, in international commerce, this would depend on the type of link with the international division of labor. Development requires that exports and imports maintain a balance between their technological content and added value to allow the internal productive structure to assimilate and spread advances in knowledge and technology. It is key that investments of subsidiaries of multinational companies not weaken the endogenous capacity of technological development. Likewise, international finance should be consistent with the capacity for external payment and the balance of international payments. In summary, from the point of view of each country, the result depends on the type of insertion into the global order, or to put it another way, on the quality of responses to the challenges and opportunities of globalization.

Over the past two hundred years, growing asymmetries in economic development among countries have been the result of the power of dominant countries, but in the end, this also depends on the ability of each society to participate in the transformations brought about by advances in science and technological applications. In this sense, it could be said that each country has the globalization it deserves. Clearly, an effective exercise of sovereignty is a requirement for a country to provide its own responses to the global scenario. In the past, countries subordinated to the colonial condition were subject to the decisions of the metropolises and their style of insertion into the global order responded to the interests of the latter.

But even in colonial dependence, such as the thirteen British colonies of North America or the British territories in Canada and Australia, it was possible to find a response to globalization compatible with development and accumulation, even before independence, due to their own internal conditions and the type of relation maintained with the metropolis. On the contrary, the sovereign countries of Latin America, which achieved independence at the dawn of the industrial revolution at the beginning of the nineteenth century, have since then been unable to catch up and generate responses to the challenges and opportunities of globalization consistent with their own development.


The world order provides a reference framework for the development of each country, but the style of insertion in the external context depends primarily on endogenous factors related to the internal reality of the country. The history of economic thought in countries can be linked to the quality of their responses to the challenges and opportunities of an ever-changing globalization over time.

What then are the endogenous factors that determine these responses? What circumstances determine their success, and by extension, development? A comparative analysis of successful cases provides the basis to respond to these questions. There are countries that were initially relatively backwards with respect to the leading economies and powers of the time. Throughout the Second World Order of the nineteenth century, there were large countries (United States, Germany and Japan) and small countries (Sweden and Denmark) lagging in comparison to the hegemonic power of the period (Great Britain). In the second half of the twentieth century, there were notable cases such as South Korea and Taiwan, which were among the most backwards nations at the end of the Second World War. China is probably the best example. In other words, these are very different periods of globalization and very different countries in terms

of the size of their territories and populations, availability of natural resources, cultural traditions and political organization. However, in all of these cases, there are endogenous, internal and necessary conditions that were decisive for these countries to generate technical progress and spread and incorporate this progress into their productive and social fabrics – in other words – to set in motion the accumulation processes inherent to development in the broader sense. This set of endogenous circumstances is irreplaceable and necessary for development. They can be summarized in the concept of national density.

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Published in Mexico, 2012-2018 © D.R. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 195 October-December 2018 is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
CP 04510, México, D.F. Tel (52 55) 56 23 01 05 and (52 55) 56 24 23 39, fax (52 55) 56 23 00 97, www.probdes.iiec.unam.mx, revprode@unam.mx. Journal Editor: Moritz Cruz. Reservation of rights to exclusive use of the title: 04-2012-070613560300-203, ISSN: pending. Person responsible for the latest update of this issue: Minerva García, Circuito Maestro Mario de la Cueva s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México D.F., latest update: January 9th, 2019.
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