Kingstone Neoliberalism Latin America Book Review

Length: 3 pages Sources: 1 Subject: Literature - Latin-American Type: Book Review Paper: #50389651 Related Topics: Latin America, Latin American, Poverty In America, Democracy In America
Excerpt from Book Review :

Kingstone's Neoliberalism In Latin America

Kingstone would argue that neoliberalism has not lived up to the expectations for spurring development in Latin America. Right from the outset, Kingstone acknowledges that the issue is complex, and that there are a number of contributing factors to this failure. The book attempts to delve into why neoliberalism has failed. Kingstone notes that in particular, solutions attempted during the past few decades have not paid enough attention to the role of the state in the development of the economy. The role of the state is critical, and the unique nature of Latin American states means that even if neoliberal strategies work well in other parts of the world, they may not work in Latin America. Neoliberalism, thus, needs to be adapted for the conditions of Latin America, rather than imposed upon the region with any consideration for its uniquenesses.

A supporter of neoliberalism would not argue with the contention that it has worked, unless they wanted to point out some of the anecdotal success stores. But more reasonably, a supporter of neoliberalism would argue that the approach to economic development should not take into account the nature of government in Latin America, because that nature is part of the problem. The neoliberal system is not what needs adjusting, but rather the state systems. Issues like the lack of infrastructure, corruption, and lax enforcement of laws all contribute to the development issues that Latin America faces.

1b. Opponents of neoliberalism will point less towards the institutions that get in the way of economic development. They might agree that issues such as corruption and


They will note that even when neoliberalism raises an economy, there are wealth distribution issues that will inevitably sow discontent among populations. There is no buy-in from the people with respect to neoliberal policies, and the system will never truly work until it demonstrates that it can actually solve problems, instead of just enhancing the wealth of those who already hold the wealth and power in the region.

2. Neoliberalism is neither an elitist project, nor is it a base for economic renewal and democratic governance, in particular the latter. Democratic governance is not a precondition for success with neoliberalism, but wealth distribution systems are. At its heart, neoliberalism seeks to reduce barriers to trade, and thereby improve the efficiency of an economy. This should, if resource exploitation rates hold steady and the population remains the same, result in economic growth. But economic growth does not mean that living standards will improve. In countries where there are few mechanisms for wealth distribution (i.e. low taxes, low penetration of land ownership, minimal public education or health care), then the new wealth generated will tend to accumulate at the top. There is little doubt that in most countries, neoliberalism essentially allows the rich to get richer, and only where the mechanisms or economic conditions for distribution…

Sources Used in Documents:


Kingstone, G. (2010). The Political Economy of Latin America: Reflections on Neoliberalism and Development. Taylor & Francis.

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