Proposal preview

From the Inside Out: Globalization and Latin American Economic Growth, Development, and Change from the Colonial to Modern Periods

For centuries, Latin America has been an active participant in the process of globalization, yet scholarship on globalization has assumed that the region’s experience has been unidirectional. That is, scholars have focused on how larger and richer regions have shaped economic growth, development and change in Latin America’s economies, and how external institutions and agencies have influenced domestic policies and decisions in Latin American countries. In general, this scholarship has highlighted the negative effects of globalization in Latin America and, especially, how it has led to the allocation of resources to the international sector at the expense of the domestic economy. This “outside-in” globalization, so the scholarship argues, has led not only to poor economic performance when compared to the experience of globalization in the United States, Japan, or Western Europe; it has also cemented the region’s place in the list of “underdeveloped” economies in the world.

The participants of this proposed panel challenge the pervasive notion that globalization was something that “happened to” Latin America. We examine Latin American economic growth and development from an “inside out” approach that examines how governments and domestic institutions shaped development internationally. We show how Latin America was an important participant in, not merely a passive recipient of, global interactions.

We ask how international, global, and transnational approaches contribute to our scholarly understanding of the region. How did Latin American policy makers and economic actors shape and adapt international ideas and institutions to local conditions? What were the advantages of these importations to domestic innovation, growth, and development? Even more important, how did Latin America’s embrace of globalization and adaptation of international institutions in turn shape global industrial, commercial, and financial exchanges? That is, if we dare to view the region as something more than a passive recipient of advanced knowledge and technique–or worse, as a recipient who could only poorly adopt what richer nations had to offer–we might find the region’s imprints all over the world.

This panel invited participants from a wide spectrum of disciplines and methodologies that engage the questions: How does an approach that takes Latin American countries as active participants in their economic history contribute to our understanding of Latin America’s development and its global impact? How does shifting the focus from “the effects of globalization on…” to “how local conditions and institutions influenced the exchanges brought on by globalization…” change our interpretations of the process of economic growth, development, and change?

We welcome participants and an audience who examine the fundamental institutions that shaped Latin America’s economic history within three categories: (1) the state and legal institutions; (2) technologies and intellectual property rights; and (3) government finance and monetary policies.

Organizer(s)

  • Yovanna Pineda University of Central Florida ypineda@ucf.edu United States
  • Moramy López Alonso Rice University moramay@rice.edu United States

Session members

  • Susan Gauss, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • José Alejandro Peres-Cajías, Escuela de la Producción y la Competitividad, Universidad Católica Boliviana
  • Bernardita Escobar, Universidad de Talca, School of Public Administration
  • Julia Sarreal, Arizona State University
  • Anne Hanley, Northern Illinois University
  • Kari Zimmerman, University of St. Thomas
  • Margarita Fajardo, Sarah Lawrence College
  • Catalina Vizcarra, University of Vermont
  • Mario Fernando Matus González, Universidad de Chile
  • Jane Knodell, University of Vermont

Discussant(s)

  • Edward Beatty University of Notre Dame ebeatty@nd.edu

Papers

Panel abstract

In this panel, we examine Latin American economic growth and development from an “inside out” approach that analyzes how governments and domestic institutions shaped global development. We show how Latin America was an important participant in, not merely a passive recipient of, global interactions. We ask how international, global, and transnational approaches contribute to our scholarly understanding of the region. How did Latin American policy makers and economic actors shape and adapt international ideas and institutions to local conditions? What were the advantages of these importations to domestic innovation, growth, and development? More importantly, how did Latin America’s embrace of globalization and adaptation of international institutions in turn shape global industrial, commercial, and financial exchanges? We answer by framing these questions within three categories: (1) the state and legal institutions; (2) technologies and intellectual property rights; and (3) government finance and monetary policies.

1st half

Knowledge, Learning and Technology. The Bolivian Mining Industry in a Comparative Perspective

Josè A. Peres-Cajías

The goal of the paper is to analyze how knowledge accumulation took place in the Bolivian mining sector and how this knowledge was transformed into technical learning and technical innovations from 1900 to 1950. Following Ranestad's (2016) work on Chilean and Norwegian mining sectors, the paper reconstructs different indicators that allows comparison with other natural resource rich countries. The study analyzes: public support to technical education; the role of both foreign and Bolivian engineers in knowledge accumulation; the interaction between the public sector, the private sector and the educational system in fostering innovation.

The goal of the paper is to analyze how knowledge accumulation took place in the Bolivian mining sector and how this knowledge was transformed into technical learning and technical innovations from 1900 to 1950. Following Ranestad's (2016) work on Chilean and Norwegian mining sectors, the paper reconstructs different indicators that allows comparison with other natural resource rich countries. The study analyzes: public support to technical education; the role of both foreign and Bolivian engineers in knowledge accumulation; the interaction between the public sector, the private sector and the educational system in fostering innovation.

Use and Development of Harvesting Technologies in Argentina, 1920-1960

Yovanna Pineda

Between 1920 and 1960, Argentina was cut off from the importation of foreign farm technology. Hence, farmers from the Pampas (the breadbasket region of the country) developed their own farm machinery using traditional blacksmithing methods to create “creole” plows, harvesters and thrashers for local farming. In this paper, I examine the shared exchange of know-how and blacksmithing techniques among local farmers as they shaped harvesters based on local-level farming needs and practices. Drawing on David Edgerton’s “creole” theory, this paper focuses on use and users of technology. The primary contribution of this proposed paper is to show how through their artisan skills and handcrafting, farmer-blacksmiths eventually developed a fully automated combine harvester, which could run on any oil lubricant or be horse-pulled, and had an important design in global markets.

Between 1920 and 1960, Argentina was cut off from the importation of foreign farm technology. Hence, farmers from the Pampas (the breadbasket region of the country) developed their own farm machinery using traditional blacksmithing methods to create “creole” plows, harvesters and thrashers for local farming. In this paper, I examine the shared exchange of know-how and blacksmithing techniques among local farmers as they shaped harvesters based on local-level farming needs and practices. Drawing on David Edgerton’s “creole” theory, this paper focuses on use and users of technology. The primary contribution of this proposed paper is to show how through their artisan skills and handcrafting, farmer-blacksmiths eventually developed a fully automated combine harvester, which could run on any oil lubricant or be horse-pulled, and had an important design in global markets.

From Protection to Neoliberalism: Mexico’s Brewing Industry in the Twentieth Century

Susan M. Gauss

This analysis of the performance of Mexico’s brewing industry from the 1970s through the early 2000s will demonstrate the ways in which mid-century state-led industrialism shaped globalization. More specifically, it will explore how the rapid growth in Mexico’s beer exports at the end of the century were rooted as much in the historical contingencies of development in the “protected” 1950s and 1960s as in the trade conditions ushered in by the neoliberal opening of the 1980s and 1990s. It will conclude by considering how by protecting industry, developing states influenced late-century global trade by transforming former primary product producers into manufacturers.

This analysis of the performance of Mexico’s brewing industry from the 1970s through the early 2000s will demonstrate the ways in which mid-century state-led industrialism shaped globalization. More specifically, it will explore how the rapid growth in Mexico’s beer exports at the end of the century were rooted as much in the historical contingencies of development in the “protected” 1950s and 1960s as in the trade conditions ushered in by the neoliberal opening of the 1980s and 1990s. It will conclude by considering how by protecting industry, developing states influenced late-century global trade by transforming former primary product producers into manufacturers.

Mid-20th Century Government Regulation in Argentina: the Case of Yerba Mate

Julia Sarreal

In the early twentieth century, it was widely thought that the government had the ability to balance conflicting interests for mutual gain and could most effectively direct the economy. In this vein, Argentina joined the rest of the world in developing mechanisms for its government to intervene in the economy. This paper studies the Comisión Reguladora de Yerba Mate (CRYM) – one of the many regulatory boards in Argentina. Created in 1935 during a supposed crisis of overproduction, the CRYM was intended to balance the interests of producers, industry, and consumers in order to reach a production equilibrium that benefited everyone. Industry based in Buenos Aires and Rosario initially dominated the CRYM, as is to be expected, but over time the balance of power shifted to Misiones. Despite grandiose intentions for the CRYM and its mechanism for buying and selling the raw material of yerba mate (Mercado Consignatario Nacional de...

In the early twentieth century, it was widely thought that the government had the ability to balance conflicting interests for mutual gain and could most effectively direct the economy. In this vein, Argentina joined the rest of the world in developing mechanisms for its government to intervene in the economy. This paper studies the Comisión Reguladora de Yerba Mate (CRYM) – one of the many regulatory boards in Argentina. Created in 1935 during a supposed crisis of overproduction, the CRYM was intended to balance the interests of producers, industry, and consumers in order to reach a production equilibrium that benefited everyone. Industry based in Buenos Aires and Rosario initially dominated the CRYM, as is to be expected, but over time the balance of power shifted to Misiones. Despite grandiose intentions for the CRYM and its mechanism for buying and selling the raw material of yerba mate (Mercado Consignatario Nacional de Yerba Mate Canchada), yerba mate continued to experience cycles of large supply (and low prices) followed by limited supply (and high prices) until it was dismantled in 1991.

CEPAL, the International Monetary Fund of the Left?

Margarita Fajardo

In 1970, economist Aníbal Pinto lamented the tendency to see his institution, the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA in English and CEPAL in Spanish and Portuguese) as “some sort of International Monetary Fund of the left.” While the IMF represented the interests of the global North and the priority of monetary stability over economic development, cepalinos embodied the voice of the periphery and the precedence of development over stability. This paper traces the interrelated history of cepalinos and the IMF staff during the Bretton Woods era, showing convergence and the influence of each institution in defining the other’s policy and political agenda. Rather than IMF triumph and domination, this paper tells a story of frustration and accommodation to cepalinos and their ideas. By showing that the term “monetarism” emerged as result of these institutional tensions in Latin America, the paper begins to engage historically and critically with what is...

In 1970, economist Aníbal Pinto lamented the tendency to see his institution, the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA in English and CEPAL in Spanish and Portuguese) as “some sort of International Monetary Fund of the left.” While the IMF represented the interests of the global North and the priority of monetary stability over economic development, cepalinos embodied the voice of the periphery and the precedence of development over stability. This paper traces the interrelated history of cepalinos and the IMF staff during the Bretton Woods era, showing convergence and the influence of each institution in defining the other’s policy and political agenda. Rather than IMF triumph and domination, this paper tells a story of frustration and accommodation to cepalinos and their ideas. By showing that the term “monetarism” emerged as result of these institutional tensions in Latin America, the paper begins to engage historically and critically with what is vaguely called “neoliberalism.”

2nd half

The impact of Global Capitalism in Welfare Institutions and Living Standards: The Case of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Mexico

Moramay López‐Alonso

This paper traces the influence of globalization in the design of welfare institutions in Mexico from independence to the present. Since Mexico became an independent nation it aimed to emulate institutions of the Western World in hopes of entering the club of modern and civilized nations. The different political factions of each era, had different ideas of how to achieve this goal. Welfare institutions were part of this agenda and the way welfare was thought of had more to do with policy maker’s aspirations to be part of the civilized world and the attempts to fit in than the result of being attuned with meeting the needs of the population, especially those living in poverty. The disconnect between the ideas the motivated the design in welfare institutions and reality of the Mexican people are at the origin of pervasive inequality. By tracing two hundred years of welfare institutions in Mexico...

This paper traces the influence of globalization in the design of welfare institutions in Mexico from independence to the present. Since Mexico became an independent nation it aimed to emulate institutions of the Western World in hopes of entering the club of modern and civilized nations. The different political factions of each era, had different ideas of how to achieve this goal. Welfare institutions were part of this agenda and the way welfare was thought of had more to do with policy maker’s aspirations to be part of the civilized world and the attempts to fit in than the result of being attuned with meeting the needs of the population, especially those living in poverty. The disconnect between the ideas the motivated the design in welfare institutions and reality of the Mexican people are at the origin of pervasive inequality. By tracing two hundred years of welfare institutions in Mexico shed light on the origins of inequality and their connections to global capitalism.

Embracing International Standards: The Metric System, and Domestic Economic Integration in Nineteenth Century Brazil

Anne G. Hanley

The paper offers a history of the adoption of the metric system of weights and measures in Brazil. Passed into law in 1862 and mandated for nationwide implementation by 1872, the adoption of the metric system was a tangible expression of growing interest by policymakers in the international standardization movement of the nineteenth century. But implementation sparked regional revolts that scholars have interpreted as the absence of state capacity and the perils of importing foreign ideas for domestic development. This paper argues that the government’s interest in the metric system was part of an active engagement in international conversations about the power of standardized systems and data for improved regional, national, and international exchange. The government’s reaction to the revolts and its subsequent measures to ensure implementation reveal a pragmatic approach to internal bottlenecks that expanded the governing capacity of the Brazilian state.

The paper offers a history of the adoption of the metric system of weights and measures in Brazil. Passed into law in 1862 and mandated for nationwide implementation by 1872, the adoption of the metric system was a tangible expression of growing interest by policymakers in the international standardization movement of the nineteenth century. But implementation sparked regional revolts that scholars have interpreted as the absence of state capacity and the perils of importing foreign ideas for domestic development. This paper argues that the government’s interest in the metric system was part of an active engagement in international conversations about the power of standardized systems and data for improved regional, national, and international exchange. The government’s reaction to the revolts and its subsequent measures to ensure implementation reveal a pragmatic approach to internal bottlenecks that expanded the governing capacity of the Brazilian state.

Decisions in Mixed Institutional Environments: The Role of Monetary and Fiscal Policies in the Inflationary Outbreak of Chile before the First World War

Mario Matus G.

The inflationary period in Chile between 1905 and 1914, with disastrous consequences on wages and that preceded the WWI, was the result of expansive monetary policies, which were expressed in voluminous issues that expanded the monetary base and were the antithesis of a return to the Gold standard. But, on the other hand, these policies express a complex mixture, where fiscal commitments and unavoidable crises are mixed, as well as the creation of a reserve fund to restore the Gold Standard and, also, the action of pressure groups that they advocated a financial bailout through banking, after a stock market bubble. Seen from today, the behavior of the economic authorities showed a mixed institutional environment, since it was not limited exclusively to an income capture by the oligarchic groups, but it did not limit itself to satisfy long-term commitments and last‐minute fiscal urgency.

The inflationary period in Chile between 1905 and 1914, with disastrous consequences on wages and that preceded the WWI, was the result of expansive monetary policies, which were expressed in voluminous issues that expanded the monetary base and were the antithesis of a return to the Gold standard. But, on the other hand, these policies express a complex mixture, where fiscal commitments and unavoidable crises are mixed, as well as the creation of a reserve fund to restore the Gold Standard and, also, the action of pressure groups that they advocated a financial bailout through banking, after a stock market bubble. Seen from today, the behavior of the economic authorities showed a mixed institutional environment, since it was not limited exclusively to an income capture by the oligarchic groups, but it did not limit itself to satisfy long-term commitments and last‐minute fiscal urgency.

Colonial Origins of Monetary Divergence in the Americas, 1750-1900

Catalina Vizcarra and Jane Knodell

Innovating in an developing Open economy within a contested patent system. The case of Chile in late 19 century

Bernardita Escobar

This paper examines innovation in the Chilean economy through the scope of patent application activity during late 19th century (1870s-1900s). In doing so, the paper discusses that despite the complex economic incentive structure for innovation in Chile, innovation did take place, whose features have been generally overlooked. The paper first examines the evolution of the patent system established in Chile since 1840, as one that progressively evolved towards a contested patent system, and therefore became increasingly likely to produce “strong patents”, i.e., patents that were less likely to be challenged in courts after grant (mainly resulting from the examination and opposition systems they were exposed to before grant). Three features characterized the first Chilean patent system; all applications were subject to a substantive examination process; third parties could oppose an application, and until 1872, “introduction patents” were subject to protection in addition to inventions, and soon after the term of...

This paper examines innovation in the Chilean economy through the scope of patent application activity during late 19th century (1870s-1900s). In doing so, the paper discusses that despite the complex economic incentive structure for innovation in Chile, innovation did take place, whose features have been generally overlooked. The paper first examines the evolution of the patent system established in Chile since 1840, as one that progressively evolved towards a contested patent system, and therefore became increasingly likely to produce “strong patents”, i.e., patents that were less likely to be challenged in courts after grant (mainly resulting from the examination and opposition systems they were exposed to before grant). Three features characterized the first Chilean patent system; all applications were subject to a substantive examination process; third parties could oppose an application, and until 1872, “introduction patents” were subject to protection in addition to inventions, and soon after the term of protection was extended up to twenty years. By the turn of the 20th century, the enforcement of the working requirement made remaining patents strong and tradeable market assets for actual innovations. To assess the validity of the institutional features of the market system, the paper examines a new database of over 3600 patent applications made during the 1870s-1900s and finds incontrovertible evidence of a contested patent system. The data was compiled from entries published in the Official Gazette within the 1877-1910s period and the new evidence shows significant number of patent applications that were challenged through opposition procedures. The evidence also indicates that many of the patent technologies applied for were closely connected to the production of the extractive economy traded in the international markets, such as copper and nitrate, but not exclusively to such sectors. The evidence also indicates that progresses were made in novel efficiently uses of renewable energy sources. The paper uses the new data to characterize the economic sectors of the technologies that sought patent protection. This paper argues, that the evolution of the Chilean patent system was effective in incentivizing an entrepreneurial innovative culture, that until now, has been ignored.