A Global Political Economy of the Latin American 'Pink Tide': Poverty, Inequality and Dependent Development in Argentina and Brazil

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: European Studies


My prospective project aims to examine the global political
economy of the rise and fall of the so-called 'pink tide' in
Latin America. First coined by Larry Rohter (2005), 'pink tide'
refers to the surge of left-wing, non-communist,
governments in most Latin American countries -including
Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay,
Ecuador, and Bolivia- started in the early 2000s and in
decline since mid 2010s (Pereira Da Silva 2018). Left-wing
parties in these countries, with their nuances and
differences, were elected under the promise of departing
from the neoliberal restructuring of the Washington
Consensus imposed in the 1990s -which put the region
under severe economic and social crisis- and with the
support of wide-ranging social movements aiming to reduce
poverty and economic inequality (ibid.). However, their
redistributive efforts, entailing both stronger regional
cooperation and major welfare programmes such as
'Asignacion Universal Por Hijo' in Argentina or 'Bolsa Familia'
in Brazil, have not met the expectations of part of their
constituencies, paving the way for their decline and the rise
of right-wing governments.
While these themes are already covered in the scholarly
literature (Panizza 2009; Webber 2017), this project aims to
provide the first comprehensive assessment of the global
economic determinants of the rise and fall of the 'pink tide',
with specific reference to the two largest South American
countries: Argentina and Brazil. The project starts from
investigating how the reforms implemented in the 1990s
integrated Argentina and Brazil in the global economy and
examines whether this integration exacerbated their
condition of dependent development. The following
imbalanced growth, and associated increase in inequality,
can then help us make sense of the social coalition electing
left-wing governments and their redistributive programmes.
These are studied with reference to the both the discursive
construction of redistribution within an open global economy
and the material effects of the policies implemented,
especially with regarding poverty and inequality reduction,
given their centrality in these governments' policy platforms.
The project will then examine the perceived degree of
success of these policies, in order to investigate whether
they have contributed to the apparent breakdown of the
social coalition of formal and informal workers on the one
hand and sections of the middle classes, including small and
medium entrepreneurs. In sum, the hypothesis that this
proposed project aims to investigate is that the global
economic integration under the terms of the Washington
Consensus inherently limited the transformative, and hence
hegemonic, potential of the 'pink tide' governments in
Argentina and Brazil, thus constraining their ability to deliver
on their own redistributive promises.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000703/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2306150 Studentship ES/P000703/1 30/09/2019 29/07/2024 Ariadna Rissola Diaz