Just one generation ago, lawyers dominated Mexico's political elite, and Mexican economists were a relatively powerless group of mostly leftist nationalists. Today, in contrast, the country is famous, or perhaps infamous, for being run by American-trained neoclassical economists. In 1993, the Economist suggested that Mexico had the most economically literate government in the world--a trend that has continued since Mexico's transition to multi-party democracy. To the accompanying fanfare of U.S. politicians and foreign investors, these technocrats embarked on the ambitious program of privatization, deregulation, budget-cutting, and opening to free trade--all in keeping with the prescriptions of mainstream American economics.
This book chronicles the evolution of economic expertise in Mexico over the course of the twentieth century, showing how internationally credentialed experts came to set the agenda for the Mexican economics profession and to dominate Mexican economic policymaking. It also reveals how the familiar language of Mexico's new experts overlays a professional structure that is still alien to most American economists. Sarah Babb mines diverse sources--including Mexican undergraduate theses, historical documents, and personal interviews--to address issues relevant not only to Latin American studies, but also to the sociology of professions, political sociology, economic sociology, and neoinstitutionalist sociology. She demonstrates with skill how peculiarly national circumstances shape what economic experts think and do. At the same time, Babb shows how globalization can erode national systems of economic expertise in developing countries, creating a new class of ''global experts.''
Winner of the 2004 Viviana Zelizer Distinguished Book Award in Economic Sociology, American Sociological Association "A clear picture of the evolution of economic thinking in Mexico, grounded in the changing institutions that shaped it."--Choice "Masterful... In writing this book, so well researched and carefully argued, Babb has performed a major service for all those who wish to understand the contemporary global hegemony of neo-liberal economics, and who would resist its reification as the only rational antidote to economic malaise."--Gil Eyal, Journal of Economic History "Accessible to the nonspecialist, and the implicit drama of [the story] drives the reader forward... A corrective to a common globalization narrative on the left, which explains global poverty and inequality as simply something imposed on the third world."--Jeff Faux, Dissent
Series: Princeton Paperbacks
Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 15th February 2004
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24
Weight (kg): 0.43