1. The responses given by Third World communities to the spread of capitalism have thus become recently an important anthropological concern…. This entails that we examine capitalism not only in the sense of production, as narrowly defined by political economy, but rather as… the ensemble of three systems that coalesced at the end of the 18th century in northwestern Europe: a system of production (broadly, the capitalist economy), a system of power (disciplinary and normalizing mechanisms), and a system of signification (ideology, science, and representation, including philosophical currents such as liberalism and utilitarianism, and a dominant code articulated around the notions of labor and production). Only in this way can we grasp the nature of the Western Economy and the significance of its extension to the rest of the world…. [T]he effect of the introduction of development has to be seen not only in terms of its social and economic impact, but also, and perhaps more importantly, in relation to the cultural meanings and practices they upset or modify.

    In this way, an analysis of the Western Economy as an ensemble of systems of production, power, and signification…. [reveals] the historical character of those domains most taken for granted and universal in the West, such as epistemology and economics

    Arturo Escobar (‘Power and Visibility: Development and the Invention and Management of the Third World’ [1988])

    This challenge is a worthy one, although its presuppositions are slightly troubling: namely, conflating modernisation theory with development, thereby homogenising development theories (which are more diverse, in reality). However, Escobar’s discussion of how economic and development discourse disciplines outcomes for the global south is well noted. The homogenising instruments of global capitalism are often invisible.

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