Globalization is a forceful phenomenon. It is also a buzzword. What is the systematic relationship between experts' models and the way globalization reshapes economy and society? How do paradigmatic statements such as the Washington Consensus impact on social reality? And how do real-world outcomes such as the collapse of the Argentine economy change the way we theorize economic relationships?
Based on fieldwork in the Caribbean and inspired by the work of Thomas Kuhn and Michel Foucault, the author argues that to understand globalization, we must analyze material and symbolic factors and their dialectical interaction simultaneously.
Part one analyzes how economic thinking and policy in Latin America have evolved historically. To uncover the mechanisms that produce economic thinking and policy, the author formulates a new social theory: interpretive political economy. Integrating research in anthropology, economics, and sociology, he examines four levels of social reality: meaning structures, discourse, practice, and material conditions. Part two provides in-depth case studies on Cuba and the Dominican Republic. What does the rise of economic surveillance mean for globalizing socialism and neopatrimonial capitalism? Does thinking about social relations in the language of the market affect these relations in any systematic way?
Maximilian Martin is a Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University. He is also Head of Research at the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Switzerland, and teaches at the University of Geneva.