Technopols: Freeing Politics and Markets in Latin America in the 1990s. JORGE I. DOMÍNGUEZ (ed.): University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997.

Conrad M. Herold, Leopoldo Rodriguez


This book will remain one of the most thorough studies of the individuals involved in the contemporary age of liberalization in Latin America. It is an important contribution to our understanding of the early 1990s, executed with impeccable scholarship, graceful style and balanced elegance. The bulk of the text consists of five uniformly excellent and detailed studies of the intellectual formation and the political interventions of five Latin American leaders. They are "technopols," that is, highly trained individuals --four of the five are economists-- who go beyond being mere technocrats by merit of their vigorous and adroit participation in political life. Indeed, what makes a technopol is his or her acceptance of the need to legitimize their agendas through political participation. The technopol does not disdain the "inefficiencies" of politics, on the contrary, the technopol has understood the eventual inefficiency and limitations of technocrats and technocracy. Technopols understand the need to make good economics (or necessary economics) politically viable and sustainable, and "have fashioned economic policies guided by their political analysis of the circumstances of their respective countries..." Thus, they "design economic policies by understanding politics first." We are tempted to think of them as a second generation of neoliberals, who have learned from the failures and disasters of the early neoliberal radicals.

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