congresos y reuniones científicas
Exploring functionalities and weaknesses of Latin American statehood under the new global economic geopolitical dispute
Río de Janeiro
Conferencia; SASE Annual Conference: Socio-Economics in a Transitioning World: Breaking Lines and Alternative Paradigms for a New World Order; 2023
Institución organizadora:
Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics
Changes in the forms of state implication during the 21st century and the growing challenges on a global scale (pandemics, climate change, energy transition, increasing inequality, and concentration of wealth, to name a few) have once again placed the State not only at the center of the development strategy but also at the center of academic reflection. Regarding the first aspect, governments of different political leanings and from different regions have called upon the central role of the State to maneuver, in the case of Latin America, the devastating effects of neoliberalism; in the case of Europe and North America, the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis and, in East Asia, the rise of China and the region in the hierarchy of wealth.With regard to academic reflection, we are witnessing an active recovery of the concept of state capitalism, which seeks not only to describe but also to problematize a particular moment of capitalism and its crisis. Under this recovery, the scope and expansive logic of the globalization process, which dominated the last part of the last century, is questioned, and the renewed relevance of national spaces is highlighted, as well as the growing presence of the State in the context of the responses to the restructuring of the global order. However, this approach has encountered limitations in accounting for the specificities under which the different national scenarios, their macro-regional scope, and the characteristics of their States are deployed. The relevance of the different historical trajectories, regional and national processes, and their interweaving in systemic operating structures require theoretical devices that can address such diversities.In Latin America, this recovery of state centrality during the 21st century configured an auspicious (and unique) scenario that promised to operate against neoliberalism and its consequences deployed from the Washington Consensus onwards. However, the neoliberal project, understood as that which guarantees the continuity and constant recreation of the processes of marketization promoted by international productive and financial capital, was not altered by State action. Rather, neoliberalizations have been showing a remarkable capacity to capture and functionalize the State, allied with national and regional actors that contribute to reproducing their logic and interests.In this sense, the Latin American space has become yet another scenario where geopolitical and geoeconomic disputes on a global scale are expressed. Thus, from the old central spaces or the new centers of accumulation, the different nation-states seek to operate globally, penetrating and re-functionalizing the economic networks to obtain advantageous positions and access to resources from the peripheral national spaces. Whether represented by the increasingly financialized forms that dominate the economic networks of the Global North, or with a productivist profile that deepens the primarization of the region, expressed in the Asian networks and forms of investment, the various marketization projects and the States that promote them have gained a presence in Latin America throughout the 21st century, giving rise to a growing dispute between those geo-political and geo-economic interests.In the face of this, Latin American states have operated from a position that is functional to the reproduction of marketization projects and of the global dispute itself. In other words, in the absence of autonomous positions, peripheral states find it difficult to plan, sustain and project their own inclusive and sustainable accumulation strategies. In this way, the exercise of state power is configured from weakness, which limits its capacity to direct capital towards industrial-technological productive forms. In this paper, we are interested in investigating some of the elements that operate in an articulated manner to configure this weakness. In our opinion, given the challenges faced by the State in the region, an analysis of the ways in which it exercises its power is a fundamental input to understand the limitations, and the possibilities to overcome them and to formulate new pillars on which Latin American States are called upon to develop socio-economic policies, if they wish to take advantage of the current geopolitical and geoeconomic context.This paper aims to identify some elements that contributed to the formation of this weakness in the exercise of the power of Latin American states to direct -and not be directed by- capital and its logic of marketization under the most current dispute of economic geopolitics. We argue that these weaknesses are the result of different historical periods and diverse features in the construction and reconstruction of States in the region and that they are not captured by the state capitalism literature addressing Latin America. The omission of the particular exercise of political power by Latin American States could configure an important impediment to the formulation of socio-economic policies in the pursuit of an autonomous and sustainable national and macro-regional development, in the midst of the global geopolitical-economic dispute.