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Abstract: Latin America has experimented with two different development strategies: an “outward-oriented” program based on exports of primary commodities and, alternatively, a domestic industrialization from within strategy. A consensus that both models failed to achieve sustainable development in Latin America opened space for rethinking development theory and policy in the beginning of the twenty-first century. Most development theorist, however, are still attached to the idea that growth and development if not synonyms are at least highly correlated. This paper argues that is that if development economists understand history as a non-linear process, meaning that the economy does not consist of a homogeneous reality, evolving gradually from primitive societies towards a market economy, development economics can be liberated from its growth-oriented bias to, then, focus on well-being, universalization of rights, and de-commodification of social relations.