the State of Underdevelopment in
the New Periphery
JORGE NEF and WILDER ROBLES*
This study provides an analytical sketch of the context, culture, structures, processes, and consequences of neoliberalism. It examines the subject from two fundamental and complementary perspectives. The first involves an appraisal of the history and evolution of neoliberalism as a sociopolitical phenomenon from its origins to the present. The second perspective provides a systematic analysis of the theory and practice of neoliberalism, its circumstances and effects, with special reference to the issue of globalization and its impact upon the weaker sectors of society. The authors conclude that neoliberal globalization has contributed to the emergence of a new centre and periphery, no longer based on distinct geographical regions, but on different political and economic strata in both the North and South.
THE 1998 FINANCIAL meltdown has exposed the mutual vulnerability of the present global order. It has also signalled a profound crisis in the theory and practice of international development. The domino-like collapse of the Asian, Latin American, and East European economies, underscores the inability of the world economic regime to foresee, avert, and manage multiple dysfunctions. The structures that emerged from the Breton Woods agreements of 1944 — the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB) and the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT; today the World Trade Organization, WTO) — far from steering countries away from their grave predicament, have ostensibly compounded their difficulties. The once deemed secure [developed] countries of the [North] are increasingly vulnerable to events in the lesser secure
* Jorge Nef is the Director of the School of Government, Public Administration, and Politics at
the University of Chile in Santiago, Chile. Wilder Robles is a PhD candidate at the University