5273 - The formation of a neoliberal civil society in Latin America: The case of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation Network

Many progressive movements have been toppled in Latin America after WW II until the 1980s. Reactionary insurgencies were frequently aided by foreign interventions, mainly from the United States. Toward the end of the Cold War, however, democracy became a crucial element in the fight against the socialist second world. Remaining authoritarian dictatorships were dismantled across Latin America, and elected left wing governments were no longer perceived as a fundamental threat. In fact, staff of the neoliberal international umbrella think tank Atlas Economic Research Foundation pointed to the strength of neoliberal civil society organizations across Latin America when confronted with calls for external intervention to prevent the rise of PT in Brazil, for example. Local neoliberal forces were suggested to be strong enough to cope with the threat of left wing governments. The paper will follow up on the presentation of neoliberal networks of think tanks and intellectuals in Latin America in order to better comprehend and assess the scale, scope and depth of neoliberal civil society formation processes. The primary empirical material will be the Latin American think tanks registered on the website of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation (currently 112 think tanks), and the strategies regarding Venezuela’s influence in the region.

Keywords: Neoliberalism, think tank, intellectual, civil society

Author: Plehwe, Dieter (WZB, Germany / Deutschland)


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