Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Abdul Lateef


This thesis is an attmept to define the dependence contextual approach. This approach argues that national development is an international problem that should be studies from an international perspective. It also asserts that development and underdevelopment are functionally linked (i.e., the development of one nation may be a cause of the underdevelopment of another and vice versa).

This approach is utilized to examine the national development of Brazil since independence in 1822 to 1980. Dependence writers propose that Brazil’s national development can be categorized into three stages. Those are 1) the era of export economy (1822-1930); 2) the period of import substitution (1930-1964); and, 3) the stage of export-led growth (1964-present).

By the early 1960’s Brazil was faced with two major dilemmas. The economy was suffering from 70% inflation (1962-1964). This was greatly aggravated by balance of payments deficits. Austerity programs, eventually instituted by the military regime, were badly needed. Such programs would inevitably harm the workers. Workers, however, made up the political base of the civilian president, Joao Goulart. Goulart’s solution was to introduce leftist reforms favoring workers over employers in dealing with the economy.

The research endeavors to show how the dynamics of import substitution industrialization (ISI) contributed to these political/economic crises of the early 1960’s in Brazil. This is accomplished in two ways. First, by showing how the strategy of import substitution reduced the importing capacity of the Brazilian economy (early ISI); and second, by demonstrating how the same strategy of substituting imports led to a situation where the importation of advanced technology, organization, and massive amounts of capital became essential in order to maintain economic growth (late ISI).

This study also asserts that resolution of these crises represents an assimilation of the Brazilian political apparatus to the requisites of a new stage of capitalism called “transnational capitalism.” This is established by examining government policies enacted after the military coup d’etat of 1964. These policies include 1) a reduction in worker wages which increased business profits; 2) a restriction of credit which forced small businesses into bankruptcy; and, 3) encouragement of foreign investment in Brazil to finance the balance of payments deficit. The combination of these policies helped to maintain the vitality and growth of the Brazilian economy.