This paper is a collaborative publication with The Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California, San Diego (Working Paper No. CE-03). The author wishes to express his gratitude to the Ford Foundation for the travel grant that supported his field interviewing in Latin America in April-May, 1986, and especially to the Foundation's representatives in Rio de Janeiro and Mexico for their helpfulness. He is also indebted to his Latin American friends and interlocutors for their readiness to share information and ideas.
The Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame are extremely pleased to be making this working paper by Albert O. Hirschman available to the international scholarly and policy-making community.
This paper resulted from the most recent award of the Kalman Silvert Presidents' Prize, which is presented every 18 months by the Latin American Studies Association to a senior member of the profession who has made a distinguished lifetime contribution to the study of Latin America and to the advancement of the Latin American Studies profession generally. Albert Hirschman, Professor of Social Science, Emeritus, at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, was selected to receive the 1986 Silvert Award by a committee consisting of past LASA Presidents Wayne Cornelius (Chair), Helen Safa, and Peter Smith, and the current editor of the Latin American Research Review, Gilbert Merkx.
In its original form, this paper was requested by the Silvert Award committee for presentation at the 20th Anniversary International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association in Boston, Massachusetts, October 24, 1986. Professor Hirschman's analysis draws upon interviews which he conducted during a two-month field research trip to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico in April-May, 1986, supported by a travel grant from the Ford Foundation.
The issues addressed in this paper are timely and controversial. Professor Hirschman's analysis is characteristically fresh and provocative, and merits wide attention as a corrective to much of what passes as the conventional wisdom on Latin America's current economic crisis.