But I DO judge a book by its methods and methodologies , and by the plausibility of the authors intelligence as measured not merely in the round, or in the totality of his or her conception, but in the burrow holes of each paragraph, each sentence, each clause. And as soon as I smell a rat or a fraud, I toss the book. I can get its overall second-hand and thats usually good enough. At least, so experience has taught me.
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Share via Email Andre Gunder Frank, who has died aged 76 of cancer, was one of the most prolific and controversial development economists and sociologists of the postwar era.
He was best known as an early exponent of dependency theory, which asserted that rich, developed countries gained from poor, under-developed countries so long as they remained in the international capitalist system. He wrote 40 books and nearly a thousand articles and other pieces. Always ahead of his time, Frank stood tradition and received theory on their heads over a wide range of issues.
Many of his analyses and predictions concerning the developing world have proved accurate: the persistence of poverty despite foreign investment and because of unmanageable debt servicing; the failures of national capitalism in developing countries and of Soviet-bloc and Chinese communism; and the negative effects of global capitalism.
He anticipated the reappearance of persistent structural economic crisis and imbalance on an international scale, and the ineffectiveness of Keynesian and fiscal stimulatory means to redress this; the polarising consequences of globalisation,giving rise to social movements for progressive change; and the simultaneous emergence of nationalist, ethnic and religious fundamentalist movements that may eventually undermine the democratic culture.
Born in Berlin, Frank was the son of a pacifist novelist father, who sent him to a Swiss boarding school at the age of four to escape Nazi Germany. He joined his parents in Hollywood in , going to high school there, and then in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The "Gunder" tag arose from a school jibe about his slowness compared to the Swedish runner Gundar Haag. Frank became a Keynesian while studying at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, for his economics degree, which he gained in , but by the end of his PhD at the University of Chicago, he had rebelled against his monetarist tutor Milton Friedman, and indeed against all development thinking of US origin. He rejected mainstream economics in favour of an "equity before efficiency" approach, focusing on the importance of social and political factors.
An early paper established the concept of "general productivity" later known as "total productivity" and its centrality to measuring Human Capital And Economic Growth In , he visited Cuba and then went on to Ghana and Guinea. He held posts at the University of Brasilia and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City , before becoming professor of sociology at the University of Chile, Santiago His ideas started coming into favour after Salvador Allende was elected president in , though when Frank, already persona non grata in the US for his support of the Cuban revolution, arrived in , Allende, then president of the senate, had to meet him at the airport to prevent him being deported.
He dedicated the next two decades to analysing the global crisis and the failures of neo-liberalism and Reagan-omics, with posts at the Max Planck Institute, Bavaria , the University of East Anglia , and the University of Amsterdam From , he turned increasingly to analysis of the global crisis of capital accumulation, addressing the disastrous onset of market ideology and the return of "efficiency before equity" in theory and policy.
By then, he felt that development itself had "all but disappeared" from discussion, being replaced by "only economic or debt crisis management". This book, and its unfinished sequel, ReOrient The 19th Century, explored the historical method in new directions, again challenging received theory about the rise of the west and the supposed role of the market and free trade, as opposed to coercion and imperialism.
Despite the many causes for pessimism, Frank maintained that the disadvantaged of the world would act to protect their lives and interests. To the end, he believed that change for the better was possible. He was principled and uncompromising.
Above all, he was courageous, and never afraid to be unpopular. He gave people the answers they needed to hear, not the answers they wanted to hear. He is survived by his third wife, Alison, and by his sons, Paul and Miguel, from his marriage to Marta, who died in
Andre Gunder Frank
Related Books About the Book Andre Gunder Frank asks us to ReOrient our views away from Eurocentrism—to see the rise of the West as a mere blip in what was, and is again becoming, an Asia-centered world. In a bold challenge to received historiography and social theory he turns on its head the world according to Marx, Weber, and other theorists, including Polanyi, Rostow, Braudel, and Wallerstein. Frank explains the Rise of the West in world economic and demographic terms that relate it in a single historical sweep to the decline of the East around European states, he says, used the silver extracted from the American colonies to buy entry into an expanding Asian market that already flourished in the global economy. Resorting to import substitution and export promotion in the world market, they became Newly Industrializing Economies and tipped the global economic balance to the West. That is precisely what East Asia is doing today, Frank points out, to recover its traditional dominance.
André Gunder Frank
Biography[ edit ] Frank was born in Germany to Jewish  parents, pacifist writer Leonhard Frank and his second wife Elena Maqenne Penswehr, but his family fled the country when Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor. Frank received schooling in several places in Switzerland , where his family settled, until they emigrated to the United States in He earned his Ph. His doctorate was a study of Soviet agriculture entitled Growth and Productivity in Ukrainian Agriculture from to Ironically, his dissertation supervisor was Milton Friedman , a man whose laissez faire approach to economics Frank would later harshly criticize.
ReORIENT: Global Economy in the Asian Age