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Massenkonsum oder Unterentwicklung in der "Dritten Welt"? Randbemerkungen zu den polit-ökonomischen Thesen von Hartmut Elsenhans

Quaas, Georg (1993): Massenkonsum oder Unterentwicklung in der "Dritten Welt"? Randbemerkungen zu den polit-ökonomischen Thesen von Hartmut Elsenhans. Published in: COMPARATIV , Vol. 3-3, No. ISSN 0940-3566 (1993): pp. 106-121.

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Abstract

Mass consumption and underdevelopment in the „Third World“? Some remarks about the political economic theses of Hartmut Elsenhans

The author‘s main thesis is that rising mass income is a precondition of capitalist growth. Without making any differences, he claims in the same article that the following phenomena are also preconditions of capitalist economic development: the growth of mass income (p.7), the rise in real wages (p.8), the extension of mass markets (p.15) and an enhanced production of mass consumption goods (p.15). At first glance, all these factors seem to indicate the same essential factor. But from a position with a bit more theoretical precision, these concepts represent different things for which different theses are valid. The reader can find in this study that: (i) capitalist development is possible without rising real wages; (ii) technological progress can lead to an over-proportional growth of investment industry – especially when the only recognised function of capitalists is to invest (one of the absurd assumptions made in the theoretical tradition); (iii) underdevelopment is conditioned by a lack of domestic capital; (iv) rising mass income can also have a negative effect on capitalist development; (v) a flexible trade tariff policy might be useful to protect domestic industry, but it has to be limited in a timely fashion.

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