Volume 44, Number 173,
April-June 2013
The Importance of Suitable Ideas
on Development and Globalization
Aldo Ferrer*
Date received: July 31, 2012. Date accepted: August 23, 2012

Until the 1930 crisis, the neoclassical approach prevalent in the “center” of the global order was the pattern of reference for economic ideas in peripheral nations. From that time up through the end of the “golden era” of the post-war period, the orthodox school of thought was replaced by the Keynesian paradigm and the “center” abandoned its hegemonic pretensions regarding thought in the periphery.

In the midst of this “theoretical vacuum” and the global crisis that emerged in Latin America, under the leadership of Raúl Prebisch, a call emerged for an original vision of development created by our own countries regarding our insertion in the international system. The eclac spread an industrialist perspective and new responsibilities for the state on a regional scale, as well as a criticism of the central-peripheral relationship.

With varying depth and scope, these new ideas exercised considerable influence over policies in our countries, although they did not manage to profoundly transform the structures of underdevelopment, nor resolve the subordination of peripheral nations, nor establish fundamental macroeconomic balance on a solid base. Consequently, the large social inequalities characteristic of Latin America have persisted.

Since the end of the 1970s, financialization and multinational corporations have become the nuclei of capitalism in the old central countries of the North Atlantic. The neoliberal paradigm and subordination to the power of the supposedly ungovernable forces of the global market became the “center,” in other words, the fundamentals of a neoliberal State. To lesser or greater extent, Latin American countries suffered an external debt crisis in the 1980s, and, due to their internal weaknesses, were once again subordinated to “central” thought in its version of the “Washington Consensus,” with known results.

Currently, the ongoing crisis in the old central countries of the North Atlantic reveals, as happened in the 1930s in the twentieth century, the inability of neoclassical orthodoxy to understand reality, set forth policies consistent with economic development and social welfare and contribute to a reasonably stable global order. A crisis of hegemonic thought is once again coming to the forefront of the system, and in Latin America, this means a new opportunity to build our own vision of development and our place in the world, as Prebisch, Furtado and other founders of Latin American critical thought have proposed.

The following reflections discuss these questions. First, this work seeks to understand why the neoliberal paradigm and the neoliberal State have maintained their hegemony in the old industrial economies of the North Atlantic, that is, the old “center” of the global system, despite the size and duration of the current crisis, and unlike what happened in the 1930s. Secondly, this work proposes some original theses of Latin American critical thought in light of the current way in which globalization, development and the relationship between the national and global orders are being addressed.


The ongoing problems under debate in the industrial economies of the North Atlantic and their repercussions for the global system confirm the inability of the neoliberal paradigm to interpret reality and promote national and global economic growth. The theoretical body of work created to exalt the virtues of economic deregulation and subordination of the State to market decisions has collapsed in the face of evidence and reality.

However, the neoliberal form and State continue to prevail in the old hegemonic nuclei of the global economy.

The current crisis is recognized as the most severe since the 1930s. At that time, the organization of the global economy was destroyed and the orthodox paradigm collapsed. Currently, however, neither the former nor the latter event is taking place. Why not? This is due to a set of reasons that include the different scopes of the crises in the time periods and greater influence of multinational interests in contemporary economics. We take a closer look below.

* Professor Emeritus at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ambassador of Argentina in France. E-mail: aldoferrer@ciudad.com.ar

Published in Mexico, 2012-2017 © D.R. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 192, January-March is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
CP 04510, México, D.F. Tel (52 55) 56 23 01 05 and (52 55) 56 24 23 39, fax (52 55) 56 23 00 97, www.probdes.iiec.unam.mx, revprode@unam.mx. Journal Editor: Alicia Girón González. Reservation of rights to exclusive use of the title: 04-2012-070613560300-203, ISSN: pending. Person responsible for the latest update of this issue: Minerva García, Circuito Maestro Mario de la Cueva s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México D.F., latest update: Feb 23th, 2018.
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