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. alfredo.
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