Chapter

The Vicious Cycle of Inequality in Latin America

Susan Eva Eckstein and Timothy P. Wickham-Crowley

in What Justice? Whose Justice?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780520237445
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936980 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520237445.003.0005
The Vicious Cycle of Inequality in Latin America

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Addressing acute social inequality prevalent in Latin America, has been long overdue in the policy-making regimes of the region. This laxity can be explained by the overwhelming predominance of the neoliberal paradigm, or what was known as the “Washington Consensus,” by the turn of the century, which prioritized the promotion of production for export, the retrenchment of the state's role in the economy, and the opening of the economy to foreign trade and investment. An all-pervasive exclusively growth oriented approach impeded progress in the field inequality alleviation. Economists believed, quite wrongly in the Latin American case, that policies aimed at extending and enhancing markets would generate sustained growth at an acceptable rate, which in turn would reduce poverty and inequality. Political interests and normative assumptions prompted scholars to defend total personal utility, hands down. Neoliberals ignored the political context of areas where prescriptions were bound to be adverse for inequality.

Keywords: neoliberal paradigm; Washington consensus; sustained growth; personal utility; political context; investment

Chapter.  10100 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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