Foreign Affairs magazine in its last centenary, titled: “The Age of Uncertainty”. By reviewing his articles, he indicates the directions of interest of international thought for the United States. In this sense, we are surprised that Latin America is not among the topics on its central agenda, but with a review of three books in which Argentina is mentioned in the context of the so-called “Western Hemisphere”. The selection of these works – performed by the prestigious international influencer Shannon K. A global superpower.” For the author, “three books dealt with these and other trends that helped shape the region’s economic, political, and social trajectories.”
The first book, “Dependency and Development in Latin America” by Fernando Enrique Cardoso, discusses dependency theory to explain Latin America’s struggles against the global economy’s dependence and inability to develop. Import substitution and primary industrialization strategies led to a debt crisis that had to resort to “Washington Consensus” policies to address it. By the way, the consequences in the subsequent socio-economic dimensions of these policies are not mentioned.
The second, the famous book “Never Again” by the Truth Commission established under the government of Raúl Alfonsín in 1983 explains “individual horrors and systematic violations of human rights during the period of military rule between 1976 and 1983”. This work – perhaps as unquestioned state policy – served as a guide and “model for other truth commissions as countries emerged from an oppressive regime”.
The third book reviewed by Eduardo Galeano, The Open Veins of Latin America, chronicles centuries of exploitation by foreigners, from European invaders to American multinational corporations.
Incidentally, the inclusion in this distinguished journal of three works of this historical and theoretical size is of great value. Surprisingly, the lack of books on Latin America and Asia was mentioned. This is due – he asserts – to “Latin America outside current global trends”. Incidentally, this statement contradicts evidence of the massive academic production in these two areas and the relationship between them. Once academic databases are entered, citations are counted in the millions in both Spanish and English.
The author’s opinions are based on a recommendation of two books. The first, “Devotees: Ideas and Power in Latin America” by Enrique Krause, who argues that texts on Latin America are based solely on “old ideas that continue to stir debates” and “the various tensions from anti-Americanism that still permeate diplomatic relations”. A discounted agenda, by the way, is among a huge number of topics on the region, written by authors from Latin America, the United States and the world.
The second text cited is “The Forgotten Continent: A New Latin American History” by Michael Reed. This prompts the author to think that “the region has done little to prepare for the industrial and labor transformations that automation and technology will rapidly bring about.” In this sense, we understand that the relationship is inverse: industrial development policies that cannot be implemented due to global structural asymmetry, prevent access to levels of modernization to bridge the gap with industrialized countries.
Finally, it deepens the place that has been given to Latin America in the structure of the international political economy, since “it is home to many of the world’s largest reserves of essential minerals for environmental technologies.” Again, the region is valued from the perspective of primary resource extraction, away from industrial, technological and overall development.
* Political scientist and doctorate in social sciences. Professor and researcher at the University of Buenos Aires.
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