Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

The Turkish Kadro Pioneers of Subaltern Development Economics Revisited: Setting the Record Straight on Underemployment, Monetary Policy, and Technology

Özgür M. Erdem , Dokuz Eylul University
Özveren Eyüp, Middle East Technical University

The Kadro movement was formed by a number of Turkish intellectuals organized around a monthly journal, also called Kadro, published between January 1932 and January 1935. It constituted an innovative cluster in advancing policy-oriented yet theoretical economics during the Great Depression. It posed a periphery-based challenge to conventional economic wisdom at a time when the dominant approach in economic theory and policy was itself being badly shaken in its privileged domain in the core countries. It was first and foremost developmentalist, given the circumstances of an underdeveloped country caught in the vicissitudes of a collapsing world market. The economics of Kadro scored high in terms of its novelty, internal logical consistency, and serviceability to alternative economic policy-making as far as its contributions to fighting underemployment of resources as well as monetary theory were concerned. In sharp contrast with its favorable track-record on monetary policy, the Kadro economics, understandably, fared relatively poorly in terms of its perception of the dynamics of technological change in relation to economic development. Even so, it deserves recognition for its achievements that constitute a milestone in the development of a subaltern development economics as the panacea for the ills of international division of labor at a time when Latin American Dependency School was not yet born, and development economics was yet to be instituted in the First World and beyond.

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Keywords: Kadro Movement, development, monetary policy, technology, Great Depression

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