Andrés Rivarola Puntigliano (Stockholm University, Sweden)
Örjan Appelqvist (Stockholm University, Sweden)
The ideas on development issues of two ‘pioneers in development’, Raúl Prebisch and Gunnar Myrdal, are tracked in their formation and evolution. The central role of these two ‘defiant bureaucrats’ in the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and the Economic Commission for Latin America (CEPAL) are used to reflect on the interaction between intellectuals and international institutions in different historical contexts. Both men represented a liberal–universal strand in development thinking. Their divergent conclusions and assessments of the role of international institutions are compared, and are related to their different origins in core and periphery. It is argued that such roots influenced two different approaches to development problems within the UN system.