Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

On the Metropolitan-Colonial Debate: The Kadro Movement versus the Dependency School of Thought

Eren Ahmet, Niğde Ömer Halisdemir University
Bilir Hüsnü, Aksaray University

This study focuses on the similarities between the Kadro Movement in Turkey and the Dependency Theory. The leading figures of the dependency school of thought who rose to prominence in the 1960’s were Paul Baran, Andre G. Frank, Immanuel Wallerstein and Samir Amin. These thinkers discussed the capitalist economic system as a world system, and argued that the developed countries of today have not been developed until recent history, yet they have never been underdeveloped. Because underdevelopment is a concomitant of the relations among them and developed countries, which in turn signifies that “underdevelopment is created by development”. This tradition of thought in Latin America could be seen in the form of the Kadro Movement in Turkey. The movement took its name from the Kadro Journal that was published between January 1932 and November-December 1934 with a total of 36 issues. Its founders were Şevket Süreyya Aydemir, Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoglu, Vedat Nedim Tör, Ismail Hüsrev Tokin and Burhan Asaf Belge. This movement emphasized that it was significant for Turkish economy to have a national basis. In this respect they sought answers to these two questions: First, how to develop by breaking the chains of underdevelopment, and second, how this could be accomplished in conformity with national features. Fundamental to Kadro's view of the international system was the dichotomy between industrialized (colonist) and non-industrialized (colony) countries. Kadro held that underdevelopment in colonies and semi-colonies was brought about primarily by the development of capitalism in Europe. The aim of this paper, therefore, is to analyze the existing socio-economic structure of that time that revived the same ideas in different areas all around the world, and to reveal that these ideas were also put forth in Turkey led by the Kadro Movement before the Dependency School historically.


Keywords: The Kadro Movement, The Dependency Theory, Capitalist World System, Underdevelopment.