According to [dependency theory developed by Gui Bonsiepe], underdevelopment in peripheral (poor) countries is a consequence of development in the central (wealthy) countries. Economic, cultural and psychological pressures force a dependant relationship between the centre and periphery.
To give an example in economic terms, the periphery—under the control of elites and bourgeois classes—export cheap primary goods and benefit exclusively from profits by importing luxury goods from the centre. Central countries benefit from the cheap supply of raw materials and markets in which to sell their goods. In this state of perpetual dependency, the underdevelopment of the periphery would continue indefinitely.
Dependency is also reflected in the process of industrialization whereby the centre would establish a production base in the periphery which exploited cheap labour and resources, required expensive imported inputs and did not reinvest its profits or transfer knowledge into the local economy (Rapley 2007, p. 25). A technological dependency also existed if the majority of a countries technology came from foreign sources, for example through the reliance on imported capital equipment, one-way technology flows and low numbers of patents.
Industrial design in the peripheral countries acquired a mainstream European or American image which was inappropriately oriented towards sales promotion and durable consumer products for an affluent minority, while ignoring basic needs of the poor who couldn’t afford, or have any need for socially irrelevant products. Also, foreign multinational corporations (MNCs) operating within the periphery withheld technical skills and capacities from local industries, thereby preventing local autonomous technological development, local Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) were no more inclined to facilitate technological innovation.