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Latin American Neostructuralism

Latin American Neostructuralism: The Contradictions of Post-Neoliberal Development

Fernando Ignacio Leiva
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 360
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.cttttg1j
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  • Book Info
    Latin American Neostructuralism
    Book Description:

    This landmark work is the first sustained critique of Latin American neostructuralism, the prevailing narrative that has sought to replace “market fundamentalism” and humanize the “savage capitalism” imposed by neoliberal dogmatism. Fernando Leiva analyzes neostructuralism and questions its credibility as the answer to the region’s economic, political, and social woes.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6648-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. List of Acronyms
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. Introduction: Latin America’s Post-neoliberal Turn
    (pp. xvii-xxxvi)

    A “new breed of pragmatic leftists” dedicated to combining “the left’s traditional warm-hearted social goals with a new found appreciation for cold economic calculus” is now occupying key economic posts in Latin America according to theWall Street Journal(Luhnow 2005). Whether one agrees with this interpretation or not, the election after 2000 of leftists presidents and progressive governments in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Paraguay, as well as the continued presence of powerful social movements, suggests that a historically significant political and intellectual realignment seems indeed under way.

    The emergence and rise to predominance...

  6. 1 Conceptual Innovation: Combining Growth, Equity, and Democracy
    (pp. 1-20)

    “Here is the solution to all of our problems!” announced Fernando Fajnzylber when he arrived in Rio de Janeiro to present the founding manifesto of Latin American neostructuralism (Bresser-Pereira 1992, 6; my translation).¹ Written under his leadership and published in 1990,Changing Production Patterns with Social Equityseemed to solve three pressing challenges confronting the United Nation’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) as it sought to craft a credible response to neoliberalism’s laissez-faire counterrevolution in development thinking. After years of hard work during the 1980s, economists at ECLAC finally managed to (1) identify the weakest chinks...

  7. 2 Methodological Retreats
    (pp. 21-41)

    Despite its initial discursive potency and recent political triumphs, Latin American neostructuralism carries within itself profound contradictions. To an important extent, these stem from the methodological and intellectual shifts enacted during the 1980s that gave rise to Latin American neostructructuralism and the “new ECLAC” (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean). Though many have seen these changes as a necessary adaptation to new conditions created by the demise of the import substitution industrialization (ISI) regime of accumulation, changes in the world economy and the growing influence of U.S.-based economic theories—such as new endogenous growth theory, neo-Schumpeterian evolutionary models,¹...

  8. 3 Historicizing Latin American Neostructuralism
    (pp. 42-63)

    The rise to predominance of a new school of thought, such as Latin American neostructuralism, does not take place in a historical vacuum or instantaneously once it demonstrates a purported conceptual superiority over the dominant paradigm.¹ Hence, if we are to understand Latin American neostructuralism’s seductive power (as well as its limitations), we must go beyond taxonomic comparisons of concepts, policy bundles, or predictive prowess of contending models. If we are to deconstruct Latin American neostructuralism by bringing to the center of analysis the historical relationship between itsdiscursiveandmaterial practices, then we should explain how we are going...

  9. 4 Neostructuralism in Chile and Brazil
    (pp. 64-88)

    The March 1990 inauguration of Patricio Aylwin marked a turning point for Latin American economic development theory and Chilean politics. While for Chileans it brought the long-sought end to almost seventeen years of Augusto Pinochet’s military regime, for Latin America and the Caribbean Aylwin’s election heralded the hemispheric debut of a new development discourse—Latin American neostructuralism. With the return of civilian rule in 1990, Chile became the birthplace, the testing ground, and arguably the showcase for neostructuralism in the Americas. Economists and planners from the United Nation’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), headquartered in Santiago,...

  10. 5 Foundational Myths, Acts of Omission
    (pp. 89-118)

    Every discourse is the outcome of certain acts of omission and Latin American neostructuralism is no exception. This insight provides us with a valuable entry point for studying neostructuralism and encourages us to formulate the following question, what are the consequences of excising power relations from economic analysis for the internal coherence of neostructuralist discourse? This chapter explores this question by examining the “acts of omission” embedded in five central notions that constitute the very foundations of Latin American neostructuralism. Th ese are (1) the promise of favorable prospects for moving onto the high road to globalization; (2) the promotion...

  11. 6 Effacing the Deep Structure of Contemporary Latin American Capitalism
    (pp. 119-144)

    Latin American neostructuralism’s capacity to incisively explore the most salient transformations experienced by Latin American capitalism over the last decade is severely hampered by its omission of power and power relations. By discarding a systemic approach and jettisoning the notion of economic surplus, Latin American neostructuralism exhibits a startling laggardness when studying three current unfolding and accelerating processes in the region: the transnationalization of capital, the increasing financialization of the economy, and the growing informalization (or precarization) of labor–capital relations. This is not to say that facets of these processes have not been examined or measured by the highly...

  12. 7 The Politics of Neostructuralism and Capital Accumulation
    (pp. 145-163)

    The neostructuralist paradigm assigns political leadership, concerted action, and participatory governance key roles in forging systemic competitiveness at every level of society. In contrast to neoliberals who envision only the market as the defining space for their modernizing project, neostructuralists have a much keener understanding of the role institutions, politics, culture, and subjectivity play in economic development and management of globalizing processes. Th erefore it is in the realm of politics more than the strictly economic where neostructuralist conceptualizations seem to be currently having their greatest impact. This chapter examines the contradictory outcomes of the conceptual turn toward reconnecting politics...

  13. 8 Erecting a New Mode of Regulation
    (pp. 164-188)

    By conceptually linking recent transformations in Latin American economies with the need for institutional arrangements to promote a new citizenship in the era of globalization, Latin American neostructuralism makes a decisive contribution to the post-neoliberal politics of development. Through a broad spectrum of public policies, which in the wake of dogmatic neoliberalism appear as innovative, Latin American neostructuralism fosters the construction of new social arrangements and institutional mechanisms. With its heightened attention to the “extra-economic,” Latin American neostructuralism designs and erects a new set of mediations for managing contradictions engendered by export-oriented (EO) accumulation of capital, thereby ensuring that social...

  14. 9 Chile’s Evanescent High Road and Dashed Dreams of Equity
    (pp. 189-214)

    In June 2006, thousands of Chilean high school students went on strike and, during a three-week period, occupied school-buildings in the country’s major cities. Showing a high level of organization and combativeness, thepingüinos(penguins), as secondary students are affectionately known, caught Chilean political observers by surprise as many convinced themselves that direct and collective forms of action decided in mass assemblies had become obsolete under Chile’s post-neoliberal modernity.¹ The mobilized students denounced the deficient and classist nature of Chile’s public education, a system admired throughout Latin America before the military coup, but undermined by the voucher and private provider...

  15. 10 Neostructuralism and the Latin American Left
    (pp. 215-233)

    This chapter extends the critical analysis of Latin American neostructuralism by exploring its relationship with the Latin American Left and the ongoing efforts to construct alternatives to the present neoliberal order. In this chapter, I review the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean’s (ECLAC) latest formulations so as to gauge whether Latin American neostructuralism is successfully prolonging its shelf-life both as an economic development discourse and as a narrative about Latin America’s path to modernity. By contrasting Latin American neostructuralism’s strategy of “globalization with a human face” with two other proposals for a post-neoliberalism future that have appeared...

  16. 11 The Future of Latin American Neostructuralism
    (pp. 234-246)

    Previous chapters have sought to reverse “the imposing tapestry” with which Latin American neostructuralism presents itself to the world so as to better understand its strengths and weaknesses. This last chapter draws these threads together to discern the future direction of neostructuralism and Latin American political economy.

    A central conclusion emerges: the winds billowing the sails of Latin American neostructuralism and propelling it toward discursive predominance among development planners originate more from historical opportunity and timing than from the internal coherence of the neostructuralist paradigm itself. The historical opportunity seized by Latin American neostructuralism was created by the blatant limitations...

  17. Notes
    (pp. 247-264)
  18. References
    (pp. 265-288)
  19. Index
    (pp. 289-316)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 317-317)