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Liberalization and its Consequences

A Comparative Perspective on Latin America and Eastern Europe

Edited by Werner Baer and Joseph L. Love

The essays in this volume describe, analyse and compare the achievements and the failures of societies that adopted market-based economies within a democratic polity after a long period of communist rule (Russia and Eastern Europe) or military authoritarianism (Latin America). Together, they also trace the rocky course of liberal economic policies over the whole twentieth century.
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Chapter 8: Neo-liberalization revisited in the light of the Brazilian crisis

Lawrence S. Graham, Eduardo Fernández Delgado and Mary Arends-Kuenning


Baer 02 chap 5 19/10/00 11:48 am Page 183 8. Neo-liberalism revisited in the light of the Brazilian crisis Lawrence S. Graham During the last two decades profound changes have been sweeping through Latin American economics, politics, and government. In economics we have moved from an era in which state control of the economy was common throughout the region to one where market economies now dominate. In politics, we have moved from a world in which authoritarian regimes were in the majority to one where democratic regimes are in the ascendancy. In government, we have moved from a context in which the state controlled the development policy agenda to one where initiatives outside government have more and more weight in determining economic outcomes. In this new setting, reform initiatives are under way throughout much of the world. Reductions in the labor force are occurring in industrial as well as industrializing societies; attention is being given to the establishment of smaller and more professional public services, and new thinking in public management is in vogue, emphasizing cooperation with organizations outside government, especially when it comes to tackling social issues for which public resources are all too limited. THE REFORM WAVES In responding to these challenges, three different waves of reforms can be identified in Latin America. First, with the exception of Cuba, authoritarian regimes have undergone liberalization or collapsed, and democratic transitions have gained the upper hand. Where the military was dominant and economic performance did not measure up to...

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