1st Edition

Market Liberalizations and Emigration from Latin America

By Jon Jonakin Copyright 2018
    278 Pages
    by Routledge

    278 Pages
    by Routledge

    Market Liberalizations and Emigration From Latin America provides a comprehensive analysis of the impact of the era of liberalization in Latin America, focusing in particular on labor markets and emigration from the region. Starting in 1980, liberalization in Latin America was expected to improve market functioning, efficiency, and welfare. Instead, it yielded slower growth, unexpectedly high levels of unemployment and income inequality, flat or falling wages, an increase in non-tradeable (service sector) and informal activity, and, finally, waves of emigration from Mexico, Central America, and Ecuador, among other countries. This book provides a heterodox narrative explanation of why the orthodox economic model that underwrote the standard ‘trickle-down’ account served more to obscure and obfuscate than to explain and clarify the state-of-affairs.

    The book investigates the impact of the global-scale liberalizations of markets for goods and physical and finance capital and the mere national-scale liberalization of regional labor markets, arguing that these asymmetric liberalizations, together, resulted in labor market failure and contributed in turn to the subsequent, undocumented migrant flow. The ultimate effect of the skewed scale of market liberalizations in Latin America disproportionately benefited capital at the expense of labor. Market Liberalizations and Emigration From Latin America will be of interest to researchers of economics and development in Latin America.

     Chapter 1: Troubled Economic Narratives in a Time of ‘Globalization’

    Chapter 2: Through the Looking Glass: Structural Change and Latin America’s Refracted Reality

    Chapter 3: Shrinking Options While Enthusing About ‘Choice’: Labor Market Deregulation, Informality, and Emigrant Exodus

    Chapter 4: The Global Liberalization That Went Missing: Undocumented Immigration and A Slew of Troubled Narratives

    Chapter 5: Mexico: Liberalization’s Poster Child That Emigrated

    Chapter 6: The Contradictions and Consequences of Market Liberalizations in ‘Petro-States’: the Evolutions of Venezuela and Ecuador

    Chapter 7: Succumbing to Ideology: Asymmetric Rules, Disarticulated Structures, and Faux Choices


    Jon Jonakin is Emeritus Professor of Economics at Tennessee Technological University, USA

    "Market Liberalizations deftly dismantles the technocratic mystifications of neoliberal ideology to expose the invisible hand around workers’ throats. This historically-grounded sharp and witty exposé of the fallacies of "free" trade, which liberalizes global flows of capital and goods while repressing labor mobility, illuminates today’s staggering global inequality and rising xenophobia."Richard Stahler-Sholk, Professor of Political Science, Eastern Michigan University, USA

    "A form of globalization that privileged capital over labor movements was always going to cause trouble. Just how problematic is shown in this insightful book about Latin America by Jon Jonakin, where the links between liberalization, privatization and labor emigration in the last three decades are carefully explored."Victor Bulmer-Thomas, Honorary Professor, Institute of the Americas, University College London, UK

    "Jonakin takes complex economic theories and processes and translates them into a clear, highly readable narrative that gets right to the heart of current contradictions and paradoxes. Market Liberalizations offers a powerful call for a new, heterodox approach focused on re-regulation, industrial policy, national safety nets, and the real freedom to choose, or to refrain from, emigration."Rose Spalding, Professor, Political Science and Vincent dePaul Professor, DePaul University, USA

    "Market Liberalizations and Emigration from Latin America offers an important angle of analysis to our knowledge of contemporary immigration. Too much of our discussion is based on a simplistic understanding of the "pull" rather than the "push" factors driving migration. Jonakin takes orthodox economics to task in its theoretical assumptions and practical consequences. Market Liberalizations is a must read for those interested in immigration and more broadly in neoliberal globalization.