What Kind of Democracy? What Kind of Market? Latin America in the Age of Neoliberalism

What Kind of Democracy? What Kind of Market? Latin America in the Age of Neoliberalism

What Kind of Democracy? What Kind of Market? Latin America in the Age of Neoliberalism

What Kind of Democracy? What Kind of Market? Latin America in the Age of Neoliberalism

Synopsis

Essays addressing what type of democracy may result from the constraints and opportunities that arise from neoliberalism.

While there is much literature analyzing the politics of implementing economic reforms, very little has been written on the social and political consequences of such reforms after they have been implemented. The basic premise of this book is that the convergence of many social, economic, and political ills (such as high levels of poverty, income inequality, criminal violence, and the growth of the informal sector) in the context of unprecedented levels of political democratization in Latin America presents a paradox that needs to be explained. What Kind of Democracy? demonstrates how the myriad social problems throughout the region are intimately linked both to a new economic development model and the weaknesses of Latin American democracy.

This volume brings together prominent scholars from Canada, the United States, and Latin America representing several different disciplines to analyze ongoing processes of economic, social, and political change in the region. The contributors are Luiz Carlos Bresser Pereira, Yoshiaki Nakano, Werner Baer, Claudio Paiva, Jorge Schvarzer, Jean-Francois Prud'homme, Juan Alberto Fuentes K., Manuel Barrera, Francisco Zapata, and Francisco Weffort.

Excerpt

Philip Oxhorn and Graciela Ducatenzeiler

By now, it has become almost cliché to refer to the 1980s as Latin America's "lost decade." The resource drain caused by the servicing of excessive external debt and severe economic recession, frequently combined with escalating inflation, forced in almost every case difficult policy choices for national governments in Latin America. These policy choices not only have implications for the consolidation of democracy in the region but can also pose a significant threat to the governability of specific countries (Ducatenzeiler and Oxhorn 1994). They touch on many of the core problems affecting Latin American polities, including political, economic, social, and humanitarian issues. Yet we still know very little about the longer-term political and social impact of the policy choices being made today. This book attempts to fill this important void through a comparative study of the experiences of four countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico.

Somewhat surprisingly, the severity of the situation has led to the emergence of a high degree of consensus among economic policy makers on how individual countries in the region should attempt to respond to . . .

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