In This Review

What Kind of Democracy? What Kind of Market? Latin America in the Age of Neoliberalism
What Kind of Democracy? What Kind of Market? Latin America in the Age of Neoliberalism
Edited by Philip D. Oxhorn and Graciela Ducatenzeiler
Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999, 232 pp
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An important corrective to studies that focus only on the politics and economics of neoliberal reform. In this insightful volume, the editors critically assess Latin America's political economy in the 1990s, arguing that the convergence of extreme poverty, income inequality, crime, and the growth of a gray market present a paradox. The authors pin some blame on neoliberal restructuring and urge greater citizen participation and social justice. This is not, however, an old-fashioned lament from the disenfranchised left. These authors are not naive about the complex relationship between economic reform and political regimes, and they do believe that most reform has been for the better. But they also warn that democracy remains shaky in the region -- and that fiscal and monetary discipline, free trade, and a minimal role for the state have not always produced the expected results. They see the lack of governmental accountability as the greatest threat to social peace. If Latin American democracy remains unconsolidated, the authors fear, a shaky "illiberal democracy" could emerge in lieu of a better alternative.