Monopolies and Underdevelopment

Monopolies and Underdevelopment

From Colonial Past to Global Reality

New Horizons in Competition Law and Economics series

Calixto Salomão Filho

This ambitious analysis is centered on the evolution of economic structures in colonized economies, showing the effects of these structures on today’s global reality for all economies, whether they are considered ‘developed’ or ‘underdeveloped.’ The result is an illuminating study of historical restriction and exploitation and its impact on present day markets around the world.

Chapter 5: Industrialization and continuity of monopolistic structures

Calixto Salomão Filho

Subjects: development studies, law and development, economics and finance, development economics, economic psychology, industrial organisation, law - academic, competition and antitrust law, law and development


If colonialism introduces the monopoly system in the colonies, making it the main internal production structure, it is from industrialization that these economic structures began to determine the course of the economic and political life of the countries. This fact is not accidental nor a natural evolution. It is a transformation, conceived over a century in some regions (Latin America) and for more than 150 years in others (mostly Asia), and has not only economic but also political reasons. Decolonization was, in fact, in most countries, carefully crafted so as not to upset the balance of economic forces that supported the old colonial state. In almost all countries, it was a process of independence in politics but not of economic transformation. With rare exceptions, there really was no revolutionary process in the independence of the colonies, at least in terms of transformation of internal power relations. In most cases, power remained with the groups that held or were entitled with monopolies, granted or awarded by metropoles, which replaced one another. Obviously, within the leading economic group, there was dissension and even fratricidal struggles, but invariably the group with greater economic power ended up dominating, which was, even throughout the nineteenth century in the colonies or former colonies, the one connected to the most significant export interest in each specific period. This relation of near symbiosis between state power and monopoly was actually a natural consequence of the relations that were constitutive of the colonies themselves as national states.

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