Graduation Year

2006

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Political Science

Major Professor

Harry E. Vanden, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Steven C. Tauber, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jorge Nef, Ph.D

Keywords

economic liberalism, neoliberalism, development, economic crisis, néstor kirchner

Abstract

Since Washington Consensus policies became predominant in the 1980s, two sides of the economic globalization debate have developed: advocates claim that trade liberalization, deregulation, privatization and reduced state spending increase growth and therefore reduce poverty, while critics claim that levels of poverty and income disparity have worsened at the same time that social welfare and education programs have suffered budget cuts. Over the past decade, as many Latin Americans have failed to see promised results to alleviate poverty stemming from the "lost decade" of the 1980s (and beyond), they have elected "leftist" presidents that campaigned on anti-economic globalization (or anti-neoliberal) platforms in Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay and most recently, Bolivia. In order to examine whether policies pursued by these leftward-leaning presidents present a potential development alternative to the policies of economic globalization, my methodology is a case study of Argentina. The study is longitudinal; it first examines the Washington Consensus policies as Argentine President Carlos Menem applied them in the 1990s. It then investigates the policies of the current president, Néstor Kirchner, in an effort to determine if his policies constitute an alternative model of development for Argentina after the economic crash of December 2001/January 2002. The study finds that, while President Kirchner has taken a firm stance with the IMF and creditors, his polices do not represent a clear break with economic globalization. Kirchner has instituted new policies to ameliorate poverty and the effects of globalization, but he has renegotiated and paid external debt (rather than directing that money to domestic programs) and continues to work with companies privatized by Menem. President Kirchner more aptly presents a model that walks a fine line between economic globalization and national development.

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