Latin America: Farewell to Dependency

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2015-2-85-94

V. Krasil’shchikov, Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation (,

Abstract. The paper deals with the problem of dependent development and conservative modernization in Latin America. Whereas external dependency has been the permanent feature of Latin American development since colonial times, conservative modernization can be treated as the essential effect of this development. Almost all significant reforms in Latin American countries began earlier than the own premises for them could mature, because they were the obliged responses to the external challenges and shocks the continent underwent. The social actors of those reforms were often interested in adaptation of the obsolete socioeconomic structures and relationships to the changed external conditions instead of their destruction and genuine social renewal. The cases of authoritarian modernizations in the Southern Cone countries in the 1960s–80s clearly illustrated such attempts of the ruling groups to go forward whilst looking back. The neoliberal reforms of the 1990s demonstrated, at first glance, continuation of this practice being a form of modernisation for the upper classes’ advantages. Meanwhile, as the author argues, these reforms were actually a “swan song” of conservative modernization in Latin America. The “left turn” of the next decade did not abolish external dependency of Latin American countries, but created some important premises for the rise of internally rooted impulses to endogenous development. The new social actors of this development, such as various NGOs and left-wing movements, began to emerge in Latin America. They propose own programmes of transition towards a knowledge-based, innovative economy. This phenomenon allows to suppose that some Latin American countries have real chances for technological breakthroughs in the future, and it will be the genuine deliverance from the model of a dependent, imitative development.

Keywords: Brazil, China, conservative modernization, dependency, development, innovations, import substitution, Latin America, left turn, neoliberalism

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For citation:
Krasilshchikov V. Latin America: Farewell to Dependency. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2015, no. 2, pp. 85-94.

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