Actors and Strategies in the Economic Integration Process in Latin America
This article examines two forms of economic integration in Latin America: the Latin American Free Trade Association (LAFTA) and the Andean Pact. Although inspired by the work of the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) and, theoretically, having as the principal actors in the integration process both the industrial bourgeoisie and the State, these two forms of integration have had different results.
LAFTA was created in the early 1960's at a time when the most developed countries of the region began policies of import substitution of essential goods. The analysts of ECLA expected that the dynamism of the industrial bourgeoisie would lead the integration process. The state would only subsidize the “deficiencies” of private enterprise, and would intervene only at the level of joint planning. But for the industrial bourgeoisie, it was not the appropriate time to begin creating integrated economies, either at the national or regional levels. Their primary concern was to develop the connections with the bourgeoisie of the western industrial countries.
The Andean Pact was created at the end of the I960's among countries in which the industrial bourgeoisie was weak or virtually nonexistent. The leadership of the integration process thus devolved upon the State. The new dynamism of integration had three actors: the state, multinational corporations, and the industrial bourgeoisie. Integration should be conceived not only as a means of amalgamating the economies of the members, but also as a mechanism to strengthen the bargaining position of the main actors vis-a-vis the multinational corporations. Integration, in short, is conceived as an instrument for the renegotiation of dependency.