Development and underdevelopment from the perspective of evolutionary socioeconomics in the post-COVID-19 era

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In economics, the problematics of development and underdevelopment is a field of conceptual controversies and constant “re-comprehension,” already since classical economists’ fundamental explorations. Nowadays, especially within the particularly pressing conditions caused by the global pandemic of COVID-19, it seems that this field of research and scientific knowledge must be profoundly re-fertilized in analytical and explanatory terms. The current crisis seems to function as a catalyst for various structural changes globally, leading to a necessary reorientation of the related thematics towards exploring the inner evolutionary “mechanisms” that will drive socio-economic development (and underdevelopment) in the future. This article aims to study the conceptual evolution of the notions of development and underdevelopment in the light of modern evolutionary economics, which we think could offer a foundational repositioning at the interpretative level in response to the new emerging conditions. More specifically, this article tries to respond to what development and underdevelopment mean over time, where analytical readjustments the evolutionary economics lead to nowadays, and whether it is possible to counter-propose a multilevel approach that enriches the theoretical background for an interdisciplinary and unifying understanding of the specific problematics at the dawn of the new global reality that appears in the post-COVID-19 era. At first, we look at essential development and underdevelopment concepts by critically exploring corresponding basic definitions throughout time. Next, we study the essential and associated elements of evolutionary economics, in the light of the problematics of development and underdevelopment of our days, intending to reach a synthesizing theoretical perspective. We counter-propose the multilevel “development web” approach and analysis as a useful repositioned perspective on addressing the developmental/underdevelopmental problem since the compartmentalization of social sciences between the “micro, meso and macro” approaches seems progressively inadequate and sterile.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-212
JournalJournal of Economic and Social Thought
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Development
  • Underdevelopment
  • Evolutionary economics
  • Development web
  • Micro-meso-macro
  • Evolutionary microeconomics
  • Evolutionary mesoeconomics
  • Evolutionary macroeconomics


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