Neoliberalism, Democracy, and Development Policy in Brazil

By Filho, Alfredo Saad | Development and Society, June 2010 | Go to article overview

Neoliberalism, Democracy, and Development Policy in Brazil


Filho, Alfredo Saad, Development and Society


This paper offers a political economy analysis of the two systems of accumulation in the postwar Brazilian economy: import-substituting industrialisation (ISI) and new liberalism, and the industrial policies associated with them. The transition between these two systems of accumulation from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s is reviewed in the light of the country's key macroeconomic indicators and the political developments which have determined the choice and implementation of economic policy in each period. It is argued that, despite their significant achievements, both ISI and new liberalism were implemented unevenly and inconsistently, and that their shortcomings can be analysed at two levels: internal micro- and macro-economic limitations preventing these development strategies from achieving their stated aims, and external limitations imposed by social conflicts during each period of time. The paper concludes, first, that industrial policies are closely associated with specific state structures, economic constraints, and political configurations which can be analysed only concretely (there can be no general theory of industrial policy, and there is no 'optimum path' of accumulation under late development). Second, each system of accumulation is limited by a distinctive set of historically specific economic and political constraints, which set limits to its potential development. Third, and precisely for these reasons, industrial policy is irreducibly political and context-specific.

Keywords: Brazil, Import Substitution, Inflation, Neoliberalism, Democracy

Introduction

This paper offers a political economy analysis of the two systems of accumulation in the postwar Brazilian economy: import-substituting industrialisation (ISI) and new liberalism, and the industrial policies associated with them.1 The shift across systems of accumulation has been associated with significant changes in the role, structure, and economic policies of the Brazilian state. The first section examines the case of ISI, departing from a review of conventional assessments of this system of accumulation and, subsequently, offering an alternative interpretation of the economic and political structures underpinning this development strategy. This section also considers the limitations of ISI and the reasons for its terminal crisis in the eighties.

The second section focuses on the political transition to new liberalism, that is, the shift from military rule to democracy. It is argued that this political transition was functionally articulated with the economic transition to neoliberal policies as examined in the third section. This section departs from a conceptual review of neoliberal economic policies and reviews their implementation in Brazil since the nineties, highlighting the significance of the real stabilisation plan. Studied in detail are the shortcomings and limitations of new liberalism, a system of accumulation defined through four main features: neoliberal economic policies, microeconomic integration of domestic capital into transnational circuits, a decisive role for finance in economic policy-making, and political democracy. This paper concludes that both ISI and new liberalism achieved significant successes in terms of economic development. However, both strategies were implemented unevenly and somewhat inconsistently. These shortcomings can be analysed at two levels: internal micro- and macro-economic limitations preventing these development strategies from achieving their stated aims, and the external limitations imposed by social conflicts during each period of time.

More generally, the paper argues that industrial policies are closely associated with specific state structures, economic constraints, and political configurations which can be analysed only concretely. Consequently, there can be no general theory of industrial policy, and there is no 'optimum path' of accumulation under late development. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Neoliberalism, Democracy, and Development Policy in Brazil
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.