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Description Latin America has changed dramatically over the past few years. While the s were dominated by the politically orthodoxy of the Washington Consensus and the political uniformity of centre right governments the first decade of the new century is being characterised by the emergence of a plurality of economic and political alternatives.

In an overview of the history of the region over the past twenty-five years this book traces the intellectual and political origins of the Washington Consensus, assesses its impact on democracy and economic development and discusses whether the emergence of a variety of left-wing governments in the region represents a clear break with the politics and policies of the Washington Consensus. Clearly written and rigorously argued the book will be of interest to academics, students of Latin American politics and anybody interested in understanding contemporary Latin America.

Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions x x Table of contents 1. Introduction 2. Paradigm Found 3. The Organic Intellectuals of the Washington Consensus 4.

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The Ascent of Free Market Economics 5. The Promises of Democracy 6.

The Underside of Democracy 7. Conclusions Notes Bibliography Index show more. Review quote 'An intelligent, up-to-date and accessible account of the contemporary political economy of Latin America from one of the leading scholars on the region.


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Francisco Panizza weaves together a compelling narrative around the emergence of left of centre governments in the context of the troubled engagement between democracy and the market in the region. It is a significant contribution to debates about how we understand and label Latin America's new left and deserves to be very widely read. As the post-neoliberal landscape has slowly come into focus in the current decade, what we have lacked is an integrated perspective on the full range of interactions between models of development and democratic sustainability in the region.

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The Rise of the Contemporary Left in Latin America

In Contemporary Latin America, Panizza gives us a complete cyclical analysis of the so-called Washington Consensus: before, during and after. This insightful contribution carefully traces the diverse political reactions to the neoliberal agenda, uncovering the causal factors behind populist, reformist and left-wing responses to developmental change.


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  • Analyzing regional trends for over three decades, it is impressive in its reach as well as depth of coverage. Panizza brings much perspective and balance to bear on some of the most contentious issues facing Latin America in contemporary times. From the late s to the late s the Washington Consensus achieved clear hegemony among policy makers.

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    But then it began to unravel as economic crises in Mexico, Argentina, and elsewhere broke out. Privatization and free market reforms, while initially promising to their proponents, did not usher in a new epoch of clear sailing economic growth.

    The Political Economy of Latin America Reflections on Neoliberalism and Development

    As a result of those crises, policy makers began to rethink the Washington Consensus, resulting in the development of what Panizza calls the Post Washington Consensus, a development that he sees as more of a refinement than rejection of the original paradigm. There is now a more serious focus on poverty alleviation through state action, and on the need for some steps toward developing equality of opportunity, though not of outcomes. Policy, though, is one thing, politics another.

    In the latter there was a significant Latin American backlash against neo-liberalism and the Washington Consensus, which were blamed for causing the crises and aggravating the traditional problems of poverty and inequality as well as allowing an explosion of crime, drugs, and other social problems. Many politicians ran on anti-neo-liberal platforms.

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    In large part because of failures of Washington Consensus policies, the late [End Page ] s and the s saw a resurgence of left-wing governments. These broadly divided into two camps. Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador sought to completely break with neo-liberalism and the Washington Consensus and, in the case of Venezuela, adopted the goal of creating socialism for the twenty-first century. Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay, by contrast, continued many free market policies while attempting to more aggressively reduce poverty than had previous regimes.

    Panizza devotes considerable time to comparing the opposite trajectories of Venezuela and Brazil.

    Francisco Panizza

    But once in office, Lula accommodated to many neo-liberal prescriptions to the consternation of Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.

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