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8478 - Why an't we be pragmatics?: a note on the social effects of liberalism in Mexico and Argentina

More than twenty years have passed since the debt crisis and the start of the shift from State led development to Market economy and Liberal democracy and even though both the extended electoral participation and booming enterprises are undeniable realities, the promise of social and economic development is yet to be fulfilled to millions of Latin Americans. The causes of this fail have been traditionally associated to cultural or institutional faults under the assumption that the opposite is true in the more developed countries and older democratic regimes, that is, that older democracies have stronger Civil Societies that tend to be inclusive. We believe that such an assumption undermines the policy design because it obscures the complexities of social life and serves as justification to policies contrary to integration. An historical and logical approach to both the concept of Civil Society and the concept of Liberty during the democratization and liberalization processes guides our research and helps us not to obtain answers but to illuminate new questions which are based on contingency and casualty instead of on finality and causality. By this historical research on the long process of political and economic transition, we highlight the continuities rather than the differences and thus address the alleged facts on which the political liberalism tries to retell it’s own story as the agent of change from a stagnant and inefficient regime that limited personal liberty and impeded social and economic growth. The cases studied bring evidence of how liberalism is not only inherently exclusive but also that in some degree the “liberales” in México and Argentina were largely beneficiaries of State led development and only when the State showed weaknesses on it’s grasp over social control they abandoned this alliance (in the Argentina case with an Authoritarian Military government) in order to pursue a liberal democracy.

Keywords: Democracy, Pragmatism, Liberalism, Civil Society

Author: Diaz, Rodrigo (USAL, Spain / Spanien)

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