Dependency Theories in the
Neoliberal Period: A Latin
CRISTÓBAL KAY* and ROBERT N. GWYNNE**
A new political economy is being constructed in Latin America, as national economies become radically restructured and transformed and new social arrangements are being created. The Latin American economies and societies are reacting to these changes and re-linking to the demands of an increasingly competitive and interdependent world. Such changes are taking place within a continent of democratic governance, providing channels to challenge the new neoliberal paradigm. It is argued in this article that structuralism and dependency theory can play a fruitful part in this process of contesting and constructing an alternative development paradigm to the current dominance of the neoliberal paradigm.
SINCE the debt crisis of the early 1980s, there has been a radical series of transformations in the economic, political, social, and cultural spheres of Latin America. This can be termed a paradigmatic shift, such has been the scale of the ideological transformation, particularly of governments and their advisers. The previous paradigm can be said to have lasted from the early 1930s to the mid1980s and developed in a similar way as a response to an economic crisis. It was characterized by greater state involvement in the management of the economy, an attempt to reduce the linkages with the wider world economy and promote industrialization. This paradigm spawned structuralist and dependency theories, which tried to interpret events that had already occurred.
* Institute of Social Studies, P.O. Box 29776, 2502LT, The Hague, The Netherlands.
** School of Geography, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK.