The ideas of Prebisch and ECLAC on development are presented and analysed in other sections of this site. The purpose of this section is to locate Prebisch and CEPAL on a prolific tree of ideas and theories, which dates back to a distant period in history and continues to enrich us today. Apart from the value that we wish to assign to the contributions of Latin American thinking, one should not lose sight of the fact that these ideas were developed in close interaction with other leading thinkers of the time and drew on classical economic works. In an effort to grasp the challenges facing us in the twenty-first century, we should take a broad and critical look at the contributions of a host of different thinkers and avoid limiting ourselves to a narrow, self-referential approach.
The tree presented here shows the principal branches of development theory that have developed and interacted over the past two centuries. This tree is structured around a main trunk, which is underpinned by central elements that represent the different currents.
Hence, the tree can be displayed in different dimensions to encompass critical issues such as technological change, inequality, international trade, institutions and global governance.