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Neoliberalism and Globalization

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Project: Neoliberalism and Globalization
Open-Content project managed by AJB, mtuck

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This project will attempt to document the causes and effects of the neoliberal form of capitalism and its influence throughout the globe.

A joint project is started in which students from Chile will be sent to learn economics at the University of Chicago using funding for tuition and other expenses from the US government as well as private organizations such as the Ford Foundation. The University of Chicago’s Department of Economics is at this time a bastion of strict adherence to pro-free market thought. The chairman of this department, Theodore W. Schultz, came up with this plan along with an official from the US government during a meeting in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. Schultz himself stated that he desired that the countries of the third world, “work out their economic salvation by relating to us and by using our way of achieving their economic development.” By 1970, some 100 students from Chile will have sought advanced degrees from the University of Chicago. [Klein, 2007, pp. 59-60]

Entity Tags: University of Chicago, Theodore W. Schultz

Timeline Tags: US International Relations

Category Tags: Chile, US, Origins

“The Brick,” a 500-page economic blueprint later used by Augusto Pinochet to formulate Chile’s economic policy, is drafted by a ten-man group, eight of whom had previously studied at the University of Chicago (see 1956). The group was put together by Orlando Sáenz, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, to “prepare specific alternative programs to government programs” that the military could use. Saenz took this step following a meeting between the heads of various Chilean businesses to discuss plans for toppling the regime of democratically-elected leader Salvador Allende as well as a suitable replacement. [Klein, 2007, pp. 70-71]

Entity Tags: Orlando Sáenz, Salvador Allende Gossens, Augusto Pinochet, National Association of Manufacturers (Chile)

Category Tags: Chile, Origins

Sergio De Castro, leader of the Chicago University movement in Chile and the head author of “The Brick,” is made a chief economic adviser to Augusto Pinochet’s authoritarian regime almost immediately after the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. During the first one and a half years of Pinochet’s rule, Chile is subject to a large array of neoliberal economic reforms. These include the privatization of state-owned firms, financial deregulation, removal of import tariffs, a ten percent cut in government spending (with the notable exception of military spending), and the termination of price controls. As a result, the cost of basic goods will skyrocket while domestic industries are put out of business by imported goods. Orlando Sáenz, who originally recruited the Chicago School graduates to redesign the Chilean economy (see September 1971-September 11, 1973), will declare the consequences to be “one of the greatest failures of our economic history.” [Klein, 2007, pp. 79-80]

Entity Tags: Sergio De Castro, Augusto Pinochet, Orlando Sáenz

Category Tags: Chile, Origins

As a result of Paul Volcker’s tightening of the US money supply (see October 6, 1979), 145 developing and emerging market economies pay a total of $7.673 trillion (in current dollars) in order to service their external debts. $675 billion of this money comes from Africa, the poorest continent in the world. Despite these massive payments, the external debt held by these nations actually increases from $618 billion in 1980 to $3.150 trillion in 2006. [Nakatani and Herera, 6/2007]

Category Tags: Statistics

The breakdown of the import substitution industrialization (ISI) model of development and the advent of neoliberal economic reform in Latin America lead to what is now termed the “lost decade” due to poor economic growth in the region. From 1980 to 1990, the region’s share of the world economy slips from 6 to 3 percent. Also, its average annual percentage change of real GDP per capita growth from 1980 to 1989 is -0.4, lower than any other region in the world and significantly lower than Latin America’s previous rate of 2.5 percent for the period between 1973 to 1980. [Robinson, 1999, pp. 112-113]

Category Tags: Statistics

The IMF’s recommended reforms are widely viewed to have a negative effect on the earnings of the average Mexican. For example:
bullet In the period between 1983 and 1988, per capita income falls at a rate of about 5 percent per year.
bullet In the same period, the value of workers’ real wages falls from 40 to 50 percent.
bullet The share of national income received by workers declines from 49 percent in 1981 to 29 percent in 1990.
bullet Adjusted for inflation, the Mexicans’ real wages fall by 75 percent throughout the 1980s. [Global Exchange, 9/2001, pp. 4 pdf file; Harvey, 2005, pp. 100]

Entity Tags: Mexico, International Monetary Fund

Category Tags: IMF, Mexico, Statistics

In preparation for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico opens up its financial services to foreign ownership. By 2000, 85 percent of the banking system will be owned by foreign entities and lending to Mexican businesses will have dropped from 10 percent of the GDP to 0.3 percent. [Jones, 3/2007, pp. 3]

Entity Tags: Mexico

Category Tags: NAFTA, Mexico, Statistics

The North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (H.R. 3450) is voted on by the US House of Representatives and passes 234-200. [US Congress, 11/17/1993] It is later estimated that Congresspersons who voted in favor of H.R. 3450 received an average of $8,018 more in corporate PAC contributions than those who voted against. [Francia, 1/2001, pp. 98, 103]

Entity Tags: North American Free Trade Agreement, US Congress

Category Tags: NAFTA, Statistics

In early 1994, investors pull money out of the Mexican economy in response to an increase in US interest rates and political instability. This causes the Mexican government to lose massive amounts of reserves and lead it to allow the peso to float in December of 1994. In January of 1995 it again asks the IMF for assistance and receives packages from both the IMF and US Treasury. This time, massive privatizations of “transportation, banking and finance, railways and the petrochemical industries” were recommended as a way of paying off the loans. A devaluation of the peso in 1995 along with an IMF-mandated rise in interest rates triggers the worst depression in Mexico in 60 years. GDP falls by 6.2 percent, wages fall by 25 percent, unemployment doubles, and 12,000 Mexican firms file for bankruptcy. [Global Exchange, 9/2001, pp. 4-5 pdf file; Hart-Landsberg, 12/2002]

Entity Tags: US Department of the Treasury, Mexico

Category Tags: IMF, Mexico, Statistics

Under NAFTA, Mexico reduces its protection of domestic corn growers. This leads to a massive influx of corn from the US, where its production is heavily subsidized. This has the effect of reducing the price of corn in Mexico by 70 percent and ruining the livelihoods of some 15 million Mexican farmers who depend on the crop for income. [Fanjul and Fraser, 8/2003, pp. 23 pdf file]

Entity Tags: North American Free Trade Agreement

Category Tags: NAFTA, Mexico, Statistics

Around 100,000 farm workers march to the main square of Mexico City to protest the removal of duties on farm imports that occurred just weeks earlier (see January 1, 1994). They demand that the government renegotiate NAFTA to better protect Mexican agricultural producers. [Houston Chronicle, 2/1/2003; Fanjul and Fraser, 8/2003, pp. 23 pdf file]

Entity Tags: North American Free Trade Agreement

Category Tags: NAFTA, Mexico, Uprisings

A report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace finds that the positive aspects of NAFTA just barely compensate for its negative effects. Among its findings:
bullet The net jobs gain in Mexico has been surprisingly small. In fact, 30 percent of all jobs that have been created in the maquiladora sector (export assembly plants) have been lost as company operations have since moved to lower wage countries such as China.
bullet Despite growth in productivity, real wages in Mexico are lower than they were when NAFTA first took effect. Although this can partially be attributed to the Peso Crisis of 1994-1995. It is also noted that wages in Mexico are “diverging from, rather than converging with, US wages.”
bullet Income disparity has grown drastically, with the top 10 percent of households having increased its share of the national income while the remaining 90 percent has lost its share or has seen no change at all. [Papademetriou et al., 8/2003]

Entity Tags: North American Free Trade Agreement, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Category Tags: NAFTA, Mexico, Statistics

Members of the Local 22 of the National Education Workers Union (SNTE) delivers a list of economic grievances to Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, the governor of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. After receiving no official response, hundreds of teachers start to encamp themselves in the state’s historical center with the support of numerous anti-neoliberal organizations. The movement manages to block five access ways to the Oaxaca international airport on June 1 and attract a “mega-march” of around 80,000 people the next day. [González and Baeza, 7/2007]

Entity Tags: Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, National Education Workers Union

Category Tags: Mexico, Uprisings

About 2,000 state police attempt to evict the striking teachers from the Oaxacan city square “wielding clubs and firing tear gas.” They fail as the protestors quickly resume their positions but manage to injure at least 66 people. The teachers accuse the police forces of killing four; the Mexican national human rights commission will allege that they also “beat sleeping teachers with truncheons.” [Agence France-Presse, 6/14/2006; Los Angeles Times, 6/19/2006; González and Baeza, 7/2007]

Category Tags: Mexico, Uprisings

The Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) is formed in response to the recent crackdown. It is “comprised of around 365 social, political, human rights, non-governmental, environmental, gender, student, and union organizations, the indigenous communities, and thousands of independent Oaxacans.” Its main goal is the ouster of “the fascism personified in the state governor,” Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. [González and Baeza, 7/2007]

Entity Tags: Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca

Category Tags: Mexico, Uprisings

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