Volume 44, Number 173, April-June 2013


EDITORIAL
CONTRIBUTIONS TO DEVELOPMENT THEORY FROM THE LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE

revista164 Alonso Aguilar’s contributions to development theory from the point of view of individual economic thought rest upon work by three renowned economists: Marx, Keynes and Galbraith. A deep knowledge of these thinkers influenced the development debate between Rostow and Myrdal in the 1960s. Additionally, a profound knowledge of neoclassical theory present throughout his writings provided the basis to topple an unsustainable theory to explain the development of capitalism and underdevelopment. Mariátegui’s vision permeates his writings, as a significant influence in understanding the degree of development in the “open veins” region. Mariátegui’s work also provided the economic policy tools to strengthen the metamorphosis of Latin American economic, political and social structures.

Reading A. Aguilar Monteverde’s work demonstrates his profound knowledge of the history of Latin America, the dialectic exercise and links between economic structures and social classes. From his first publications in the Problemas del Desarrollo journal, as well as his books, he addresses both political and economic power. From an economic policy perspective, his work provides tools to understand our societies in their current states. This economist uses the dialectic method to explain the development process from the conquest up to modern times.

Latin American economic thought in the realm of development theory was covered from the beginning by our Problemas del Desarrollo journal. Alonso Aguilar set forth his ideas as part of the discussion on Latin American development and underdevelopment in the global context. These ideas were present in Latin American economic thought starting in the 1960s and up through his final writings at the end of the 1990s.

Latin American economies, characterized by prevailing pre-capitalist relations until their insertion into the international accumulation process, are today part of the reality of economic, political and social development in our countries. The conquest was marked by the birth of a colonial mercantilist economy with remnants of the decline of the feudal system in Spain and abuse by the conquerors. Those that arrived in the new world, the colonizers of New England, did not implement capitalist relations from the start. Two parallel economies coexisted in our lands, one marked by old pre-capitalist relations and the other by new capitalist forms, giving rise to the birth of economic and social formations with a development process unlike that of Europe or the United States.

The three centuries preceding the independence process demonstrate the contradiction between the growing development of mercantilist relationships in the productive sphere and the advance of the industrial revolution, whose need for a free labor force required greater development and economic participation in the global economy. The independence movements were merely the result of the struggle to consolidate capitalist relations in the region. Once the colonial economy came to an end, the mercantilist economy would prevail. England’s interests in these countries involved the necessary expansion of industrial, as well as financial, capital. Once these countries had become independent from the Spanish crown, they opened their doors to international financial capital. The first to arrive were English banks. Loans to the new governments linked the dynamic sectors to satisfy the imperial interests of major North American, French and English companies.

Capitalism demanded a free labor force as a condition for internal market growth and to strengthen the modern bourgeoisie. The ideals of liberty, equality and justice from the French Revolution were a necessary requirement for the transition to capitalism. By the end of the twenty-first century the basis for the success of developing capitalism was agriculture, mining and livestock. The transition to modernization in our countries occurred alongside a close relation between the interests of power groups in foreign capital and the birth of a bourgeoisie, whose interests were in mutual agreement with the government, and the creation of a middle class demanding new economic interests.

Mexico and the rest of the Latin American countries were thus fettered to imperial interests. The 1823 Monroe Doctrine and the 1961 Alliance for Progress, a result of the economic and political power of the United States, were merely tools for imperial expansion. Starting from when conquered economies entered the international accumulation process, a sui generis capitalism arose, as a type of underdeveloped capitalism dependent on financial capital. The economies that are now known as “emerging” with gdp rowth rates above figures from the European Union, Japan and the United States, are still testing their economic growth and development paths.

The article, “Automatic Stabilization and Social Security: Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica and Chile,” by Eloy Fisher, talks about social security systems in Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica and Chile. To demonstrate his hypothesis, the author uses social security studies from countries where inflation is not a problem. Although the counter-cyclical effects of social security programs in terms of expenditures and tax payments are important, and inflation is not a fundamental variable for the countries studied, this work shows that social security programs are still a reliable source of income for the majority of the population, in spite of elevated inflation rates and profound public austerity policies. The following institutions are studied: the National Social Security Institute of the Ministry of Social Welfare of Brazil, the Mexican Social Security Institute (imss), the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (ccss) and the Non-Contributory Welfare Pension Program (pasis) of Chile.

Based on regulation theory, Ignacio de Angelis, Mariana Calvento and Mariano Roark have written an interpretation of development in Argentina throughout the first decade of this century, “Towards a New Development Model? From a Regulatory Perspective. Argentina 2003-2010.” This work sets forth the contradictions of capitalism and conflicts of interest in social relations to identify the causes that hindered development and caused the reproduction of inequalities, the meaning of the 2001 crisis for the cycle of capitalism and the features of social and economic development that separate the new regulation mode from the neoliberal form.

In the article, “Latin America. Between Financialization and Productive Finance,” Roberto Soto describes how the financial market went from being worth 3.8 trillion dollars in 1989 to 712 trillion dollars by March 2012, which is more than 10 times the global product. The work ponders why this financial tsunami occurred. What impact does the financialization process have on underdeveloped countries such as those in Latin America? What limits productive finance? The author’s response indicates how financialization has changed both the public and private banking systems, affecting the financing process for productive activities in Latin American countries, which has increased employment problems, inequality and poverty in the region.

In the work, “Adjustment: Origin of the European Crisis,” Andrés Musacchio analyzes the entrance of neoliberalism upon which the economic model was based, and its limits and contradictions. The basis of this model was the principal of the organization of labor from more than three decades ago, going through the Maastricht Treaty to the alternatives presented in the face of the current crisis. The creation of the common market, a monetary union sustained by the Stability and Growth Pact and European eastward expansion have driven the concentration and regionalization of capital. The market will dominate both fiscal policies as well as negotiations between capital and labor, influenced by regional forces. The crisis that shook Europe in 2008 has yet to affect the policies that are meant to facilitate an exit from the crisis. The combination of adjusting fiscal accounts by reducing spending and freeing up resources for debt payment, more flexible labor conditions and salary containment, together with a monetary policy to guarantee price stability, is the cocktail of policies that have been proposed and executed to ameliorate the effects of the crisis.

The article, “Common Agricultural and Cohesion Policy in the Europe 2020 Strategy,” by Antonio González Temprano, describes how both policies are a key part of the European project. The author emphasizes the importance of public spending for these policies in the European Union from the Treaty of Rome to the Maastricht Treaty and the Treaty of Lisbon. In fact, 78% of the European Union budget is destined towards these policies: 42% for the Common Agricultural Policy and 36% for Cohesion Policy. Credit oriented towards the maintenance of natural resources in the area of Conservation and Management of Natural Resources represents 42.9% of the multiannual budget. This is the largest recipient in the 2007-2013 financial framework. One of the 2014-2020 budgetary challenges is to remodel and strengthen the harmonizing dynamic of both cohesion policy and the CAP in the Europe 2020 Strategy , in the context of a European economic and financial crisis.

Pablo Mejía, Sandra Ochoa and Miguél Ángel Díaz, in their article “From Recession to Recovery: Production and Employment in Mexico and the State of Mexico,” demonstrate interesting results related to foreign commerce, employment and production, using relations among economic variables for the State of Mexico, Mexico and the international economy. This study is mainly centered around the 2008 crisis and 2009 recession. Foreign commerce has played a central role in the loss and recovery of employment and production throughout the entire cycle, while foreign direct investment and remittances were only determining factors in the recession phase. Moreover, fluctuations in industrial production and manufacturing were greater than those in the services sector, and all were higher than for employment.

In the Commentary section, the renowned Argentinean expert on Latin America, Aldo Ferrer, in his article, “The Importance of Suitable Ideas on Development and Globalization,” writes that since the 1970s, financialization and multinational corporations have become the nuclei of capitalism for the old central countries of the North Atlantic. By establishing a neoliberal paradigm and subordination to the power of global market forces, the neoliberal State arose. Throughout Ferrer’s work, two concepts mark his contribution to development theory. National density , closely related to social integration and societal participation in new opportunities, made possible institutional and political stability and secured property rights and commitment from dominant social groups to the rules of the political and institutional game. National identity , based on the essence of culture, is the second idea. These two concepts and their institutional development are a necessary condition for development. Latin America provides significant examples to this effect.

The journal closes with five reviews: “Fundamentals of Economics,” by Marcela Astudillo and Jorge Paniagua (Collaborator), reviewed by Santiago Hernández; “Knowledge Capitalism and the Telecommunications Service Industry in Mexico,” by Sergio Ordóñez and Rafael Bouchain, reviewed by Wilma Arellano; “The Financial System, Global Imbalances and Regulation,” by Alma Chapoy and Alicia Girón, reviewed by Aderak Quintana; “Economic Growth in Cuba: An Analysis of the Total Productivity of Factors,” by Yaima Doimeadiós, reviewed by Aldo Blanco and “The Food Supply in an Open Economy: The Situation in Mexico,” by Felipe Torres, Yolanda Trápaga, José Gasca and Sergio Martínez, reviewed by Rafael Olmos.

Alicia Girón
Journal Editor
unam, March 2013

Published in Mexico, 2012-2017 © D.R. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 192, January-March is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
CP 04510, México, D.F. Tel (52 55) 56 23 01 05 and (52 55) 56 24 23 39, fax (52 55) 56 23 00 97, www.probdes.iiec.unam.mx, revprode@unam.mx. Journal Editor: Alicia Girón González. Reservation of rights to exclusive use of the title: 04-2012-070613560300-203, ISSN: pending. Person responsible for the latest update of this issue: Minerva García, Circuito Maestro Mario de la Cueva s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México D.F., latest update: Feb 23th, 2018.
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