Economics, Geography, and Knowing “Development”

  • Eric Sheppard
Part of the Knowledge and Space book series (KNAS, volume 5)


Theories and conceptions of the economy profoundly shape how it comes to be known. In this chapter the author compares and contrasts the sociospatial ontologies of economists and geographers, theorizing the relationship between geography and economic development. These groups of scholars share the view that neoliberal globalization has undermined development prospects for the disadvantaged, but their contrasting ontologies generate different understandings of capitalism and of how to resolve this problem. Economists know capitalism as in principle capable of alleviating poverty and uneven geographical development, concluding that development is best achieved by following a common path to capitalist development everywhere, as pioneered by advanced capitalist societies. Geographers know capitalism as generative of inequality and uneven geographical development, as a system that forces disadvantaged social groups and geographical locations to find different approaches to development in order to overcome their current disadvantage conducive.


Gross Domestic Product World Trade Organization Mainstream Economic Commodity Production Methodological Individualism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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