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3 - Continuity through Change: Ideas as Ballast for the Developmental State

from Part I - Complementarities in the Economic Sphere

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 November 2020

Matthew M. Taylor
Affiliation:
American University, Washington DC
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Summary

Ideas provided the ballast for the continuity of the economic policy commitments of this era. Developmentalism – the notion that underdevelopment can be overcome “through capitalist industrialization, planned and supported by the state” (Bielschowsky, 1988) – served as a long-term constraint within institutions, pointing toward particular equilibrium outcomes, prioritizing between conflicting alternatives, and providing guidance that drove diverse and uncoordinated actors toward particular preferences and behaviors. As a consequence, even under the most reformist of governments, including at the height of the “Washington Consensus,” Brazilian policymaking was far more gradual, inward-looking, and accepting of an active role for the state in regulating and shaping markets than its large Latin American peers. Using Argentina and Chile as comparisons, the chapter illustrates how developmentalist ideas remained relatively embedded in Brazilian policymaking, academia, and popular thought, even as the “old’ developmentalism was supplanted by a “new” variant.

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Decadent Developmentalism
The Political Economy of Democratic Brazil
, pp. 63 - 89
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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