The Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America (International Political Economy)
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This study examines fundamental theoretical and conceptual issues of social change in Latin America in the context of detailed empirical analysis. The study centres on the structural features of Latin America and the state policies that concentrate power in the capitalist class at the expense of labour. It surveys the contradictory tendencies of concentrated wealth and power and the emergence of new socio-political movements and alternative development strategies.
27 The pursuit of the NWO and the widespread adoption of the Structural Adjustment Program (see Chapter 2) led to a new enabling policy framework for a global free trade regime and the constitution of a new imperial economy. Its one missing element was a general agreement governing the free flow of investment capital. It is to this end that the political representatives of imperial capital engage in designing behind the closed doors of the OECD, the club of the world’s richest and most powerful nations, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI).
In its 1990 formulation, ECLAC proposed: (i) the systematic incorporation of technical advances in the production apparatus (productive transformation), to achieve thereby international competitiveness; (ii) arresting and reversing the tendency for falling wages, to both strengthen the domestic market and achieve a measure of social equity. As ECLAC sees it, the necessary conditions for this productive transformation with equity is pluralist and participatory democracy, allowing the state to respond to the needs of the poor, and providing diverse social actors a voice and a fair share in the distribution of productive resources and income.
Stabilization’ induces an economic crisis which forces the working and middle classes to concentrate on the struggle for existence. It also weakens popular movements by targeting bastions of organized labour, notably public sector, mining and petroleum unions. In such an environment, labour leaders may be quickly outflanked and intimidated into accommodation. In Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela, where trade unions administer multimillion dollar health and welfare budgets, those in charge are disinclined to mobilize political opposition to ‘adjustment’ as their organizational and monetary resources are put in jeopardy by ‘stabilization’.
As we see it, this response provides considerable dynamism as relates to forces of opposition and resistance. However, it also evinces clear limits. For one thing, there is a question about whether these forces as currently constituted are able to successfully challenge the powerstructure and assume the instruments of state power. Other questions relates to the operating ideology which is needed to mobilize the social Dscc07. fm Page 143 Monday, July 26, 1999 5:52 PM Neoliberalism and the Latin American Left 143 forces of change and to the general theory which can serve to direct a concrete analysis of the situation in which the workers and producers find themselves and to inform their political practice to the purpose of constructing a socialist alternative to capitalism in its neoliberal or social liberal forms.
8 10. 8 10. 9 Informal sector (2) Rural agric. society (3) Rural prod. (4) Poverty 45. 4 48. 1 48. 8 37. 6 13 41 29 16 28 26 29 10 8 6. 5 16. 4 10. 5 9. 1 14. 9 7. 6 6. 9 10. 7 4. 7 20 97 73 56 45 51 75 - 41. 0 34. 4 44. 3 (5) Sources: (1) CEPAL (1996): 14; (2) CEPAL (1995): 179; (3)–(4) World Bank (1995); (5) Jazairy, et al. (1992). Dscc03. fm Page 57 Friday, July 23, 1999 4:56 PM Restructuring of Labour 57 emphasized, the rate of exploitation, which is conditioned by the capacity of workers to participate in any productivity gains, is by and large determined by political conditions of the class struggle – the correlation of class forces.