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TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
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Full article in PDF format | DOI: 10.3176/tr.2008.4.06

Valentin Cojanu

This work contrasts two self-declared ‘ways of thinking’ or ‘grammars’ – the high development theory (HDT) and the world-system analysis (WSA) – in the study of large-scale, long-term economic development and provides an epistemological appraisal which rests on two tenets. The first thesis says that both theories display striking explanatory similarities in terms of their subject matter (i.e. the rationale behind uneven development) in spite of clearly distinct modes of argumentation. The second thesis sets forth a criticism which points to the epistemological limits of both the mathematical construct of HDT and the historical arguments of WSA. This discussion raises a general problem of economic study, namely the directions along which the inquiry should proceed in order to achieve a coherent understanding of historical evolutions.

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