[OPE-L:6274] Research in Latin America

From: Asfilho@aol.com
Date: Fri Jan 11 2002 - 12:50:35 EST

Jerry asks about (marxist "economic") research in LA. I know little about it, 
and hope colleagues will be able to contribute more.

In the 1960s-mid 80s, it was heavily dominated by issues closely associated 
with, on the one hand, (the problems of) import-substituting 
industrialisation and, on the other hand, imperialism. Some of these trends 
were reinforced by the 1982 debt crisis. However, the subsequent dislocations 
and instability triggered much interest in macroeconomic topics - inflation, 
distribution, the impact of stabilisation policies, etc - to such an extent 
that (not only within the left, but across the board) "microeconomic" 
problems and issues virtually disappeared from books and journals.

Stabilisation and liberalisation in the 1990s led to a revival of 
"microeconomic" analysis and problems, and to a corresponding decline of 
macro topics. At the same time, the destruction of the university sector and 
the retreat of the left have also contributed to shifts in the research 
agenda. Now, in most countries economic research is a distorted mirror image 
of that in the West: the topics are the same (though there is a lot of work 
on international capital flows and "domestic" matters) - but the research 
usually does not stand on its own. It depends on a steady flow of work from 
PhD students working abroad, and from those with foreign contacts.

Marxists have been on the defensive across the board. There is little 
research on "theoretical" topics, although there is a lot of interesting work 
focusing on "domestic macroeconomic" issues, adjustment, privatisation, and 
the like.

In spite of these weaknesses, the academic left remains large, especially in 
Mexico and Brazil (less so in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay; I know little 
about other countries). Moreover, there are in some countries strong mass 
movements, with which academics are often linked.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Feb 02 2002 - 00:00:05 EST