Latin America in the World Economy: Mercantile Colonialism to Global Capitalism

By Frederick Stirton Weaver | Go to book overview

6
International Competition
and the Dissolution
of Modern Times

The last two chapters are organized differently from the preceding ones in order to portray a different line of causation. The principal forces transforming the international political economy in the most recent decades did not emanate from shifts in the nature of capitalist production, illustrated by a primary national example. Instead, the most important, initial source of change came from the international economic relations among industrialized capitalist economies, and these changes in the international realm affected metropolitan nations' economies so profoundly that their domestic economic transformations in turn substantially altered the international political economy. The consequences throughout the world during the 1980s and 1990s have been at least as radical and far-reaching as the watershed shifts of the 1930s.


The Crisis of U.S. Modern Times

As described in Chapter 4, U.S. public policy struggled to contain the centrifugal forces embodied in Modern Times capitalist development. Primarily through public expenditures, the government promoted economic growth in the Core Sector and sustained political legitimacy or at least quiescence through social programs and a readiness to apply sanctions against workers, the unemployed, and the urban underclass. However, striking a workable balance between economic growth and social stability became increasingly expensive as economic growth led to greater divergence between the Core and Competitive Sectors.

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