Civil Society, State Capacity, and the Conflicting 'Logics' of Economic and Political Change

CARLOS H. WAISMAN

Abstract


This study focuses on the crucial role played by civil society and state capacity in the determination of the outcome of the economic and political transformations under way in most of Latin America. It makes two claims. The first is that the clash between the conflicting 'logics' behind economic and political liberalization has been prevented, so far, by the operation of inhibiting factors, some of which are likely to lose their effectiveness in the long run. When that happens, the outcome of the transformation will depend, to a large extent, on the strength of civil society and the capacity of the state. The second claim is that economic liberalization and the consolidation of democracy are affecting civil society and state capacity in complex ways. Even if these two factors can sustain the continuation of the double transformation, the outcome is likely to be an intensification of the dualization of society and polity. The discussion will be mainly theoretical, with empirical reference to the most industrialized countries of South America, those of the Southern Cone. 

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