AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
In recent years, I have been working on the reversal of the radical elements of the Mexican Revolution in the 1940s. Concentrating on international issues of development, I wrote a book (see Niblo, 1995) under the title Setting the Rules. The publisher, perhaps correctly, persuaded me to change the title, arguing that it would not mean much to readers. Writing at the end of the cold war in a context of the defeat of the old left, my proposed title nonetheless conveyed an argument that still seems fundamental to our contemporary predicament. It is only by examining specific policies, initiatives, and results at a far more concrete level that we can hope to remedy the inequality that has become so dominant in recent years and is producing worldwide environmental devastation.
For too long, progressive politics was equated with the expansion of the state, with a reified notion of the direction in which history was moving, with the prevalence of supposed laws, or with the victory of critically thinking elites with which the writer identified. Many of these tendencies have been laid to rest, in some notable cases for decades, as it has become clear that state enterprises can operate for the public good or the opposite. Yet for too many, the collapse of the organized left at the end of the cold war created an ideological void. If there is to be a renewal of the left in any meaningful sense, then we must again place political economy at the heart of our effort.
The failure of alternatives in the face of the recrudescence of neoliberalism - state-of-the-art economic theory from the 1890s for the 1990s - has …