Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

Ecological History of Development

Canan Armagan, Friedrich Schiller University Jena

The concept of development is accepted to be used extensively in the economic literature generally after the 1940s. However, there is not enough scientific research about what the concept means in ancient civilizations. This paper explores what the notion of development means to the leading societies of past, since 12000 years, which is considered the beginning of human history, and its differences from today's perception of development from the view of ecological economics. The method of the study is based on revealing the relationship between nature and economic structures of societies. Thus, the ecological aspects of economic development or underdevelopment, namely its harmony or incompatibility with nature, have been revealed for the period until the introduction of development phenomenon into the economics literature. The differences in the production methods of different societies and different eras result in different comprehensions for economic development. This situation explains the capability of a society understanding and bonding to nature, so it could recreate itself in an ecological way. As a result, it is shown how the ecological transformation has started since the beginning of capitalism and a conclusion is reached about the ecological variables of development-underdevelopment duality. *This study is financially supported by TÜBİTAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey).

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Keywords: Ecological economics, history of development, underdevelopment

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