The Global Political Economy of Raúl Prebisch  book cover
1st Edition

The Global Political Economy of Raúl Prebisch

Edited By

Matias E. Margulis

ISBN 9780367884796
Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge
236 Pages

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Book Description

The Global Political Economy of Raúl Prebisch offers an original analysis of global political economy by examining it through the ideas, agency and influence of one of its most important thinkers, leaders and personalities. Prebisch’s ground-breaking ideas as an economist – the terms-of-trade thesis and the economic case for state-led industrialization – changed the world and guided economic policy across the global South. As the head of two UN bodies – the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and later the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) – he was at the frontline of key North–South political struggles for a fairer global distribution of wealth and the regulation of transnational corporations.

Prebisch increasingly came to view political power, not just economic capabilities, as pivotal to shaping the institutions and rules of the world economy. This book contextualizes his ideas, exploring how they were used and their relevance to contemporary issues. The neoliberal turn in economics in North America, Western Europe and across the global South led to an active discrediting of Prebisch’s theories and this volume offers an important corrective, reintroducing current and future generations of scholars and students to this important body of work and allowing a richer understanding of past and ongoing political struggles.

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables

Notes on contributors

Foreword by Edgar J. Dosman


List of abbreviations


Introduction: the global political economy of Raúl Prebisch

Matias Margulis



Prebisch as architect and theorist of the global political economy

1 Development through tighter economic integration: how might Prebisch size up some trends and issues thus far into the twenty-first century?

P. Sai-wing Ho

2 Thinking globally from the periphery: Raúl Prebisch and the world system

Andrés Rivarola Puntigliano

3 Raúl Prebisch and the theory of regional economic integration

José Briceño Ruiz

4 The Latin American origins of Bretton Woods

Eric Helleiner



Power and resistance in the global political economy

5 Raúl Prebisch and the historical roots of the current movement against corporate-led globalisation

Robin Broad and Zahara Heckscher

6 From Palais de Nations to Centre William Rappard: Raúl Prebisch and UNCTAD as sources of ideas in the GATT/WTO

Erin Hannah and James Scott

7 The West remains on top, economically and politically

Robert H. Wade



Diagnosing structural change in the global political economy

8 A changing role for agriculture in global political economy? Brazil’s rise as an agro-power

Kristen Hopewell

9 Back to the future reloaded: Latin America’s development strategy during the commodity boom

Esteban Pérez Caldentey and Matías Vernengo

10 Rául Prebisch and the terms of trade: how things have changed….

Raphael Kaplinsky and Masuma Farooki

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Matias E. Margulis is Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Stirling, UK. A former Canadian delegate to the WTO, OECD and United Nations agencies, his research focuses on global governance, international trade and human rights. Recent publications include 'Canada at the G8 and UN Committee on World Food Security: forum-shifting in global food security governance' (Canadian Foreign Policy Journal, 2015), 'Trading Out of the Global Food Crisis? The WTO and the Geopolitics of Food Security' (Geopolitics, 2014) and Land Grabbing and Global Governance (2014, edited with Nora McKeon and Saturnino Borras, Jr.).


This is a terrific volume which contributes to a much-needed movement away from the dominant intellectual histories of global political economy and their ‘peripheralising’ of non-English-speaking and non-Western thinking and thinkers. But it also develops an important and thought-provoking reflection on what taking this step means for the field itself, in expanding its theoretical and analytical horizons, and defining – or redefining – its subject matter. A top-notch collection that is essential reading for us all. - Nicola Phillips, University of Sheffield, UK

More than a half-century after the first United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), organized by Raúl Prebisch, his work on development and the challenges faced by centre and peripheral economies is more relevant and alive than ever. Matias Margulis’s edited volume underlines how, as we struggle again with the failure of mainstream macroeconomic theory to explain and deal with the pervasive negative social and economic impacts of global crises, Prebisch’s insights help us to examine in a critical light the false premises of mainstream economists and propose more effective ways to cope with the current challenges. - Rubens Ricupero, Fifth Secretary General of UNCTAD (19952004) and former Minister of Finance, Brazil

This volume is a powerful reminder that many crucial ideas and approaches in building the contemporary world order came from the Global South, but are shamefully ignored in the mainstream accounts. By offering a sophisticated and wide-ranging analysis of Raul Prebisch’s ideas and practical contributions, the contributors to this volume significantly advance the study of Global Political Economy and Global International Relations. - Amitav Acharya, American University, US

Matias Margulis has put together thought provoking per