Democracy Within Reason: Technocratic Revolution in Mexico (Paperback)Miguel Angel Centeno (author)
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During the 1980s the Mexican regime faced a series of economic, social, and political disasters that led many to question its survival. Yet by 1992 the economy was again growing, with inflation under control and the confidence of international investors restored. Mexico was now touted as an example for regimes in Eastern Europe to emulate.
How did Carlos Salinas and his team of technocrats manage to gain political power sufficient to impose their economic model? How did they sustain their revolution from above despite the hardships these changes brought for many Mexicans? How did they stage their remarkable political comeback and create their "democracy within reason"? Why did Salinas succeed in keeping control of his revolution while Mikhail Gorbachev failed to do so in his similar effort at radical reform?
Miguel Centeno addresses these questions by analyzing three critical developments in the Mexican state: the centralization of power within the bureaucracy; the rise of a new generation of technocrats and their use of a complex system of political networks; and the dominance of a neoliberal ideology and technocratic vision that guided policy decisions and limited democratic participation. In his conclusion the author proposes some alternative scenarios for Mexico's future, including the role of NAFTA, and suggests lessons for the study of regimes undertaking similar transitions.
Of obvious interest to students of contemporary Mexico and Latin America, the book will also be very useful for those analyzing the transition to the market in other countries, the role of knowledge in public policy, and the nature of the modern state in general.
Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
Edition: Second Edition
"Centeno turns this fascinating story to good analytical account, and there is recurrent and well-balanced reference to both Russian and Eastern Europe and East Asia; the book is relevant not only to Latin and North Americanists but to all students of comparative politics, especially those interested in the recent wave of democratic transitions and market reforms."
--Joe Foweraker, Political Studies
"This book is a significant contribution to our understanding of Mexican politics, and to the comparative exploration of the changes wrought throughout the region in the 1980s and the 1990s. It provides essential insights that are fundamental to explaining Mexico's political process in the last decade and will assist students in understanding where this political model is headed throughout the end of the century."
--Roderic Ai Camp, Journal of Developing Areas
"In this book Miguel Centeno describes and analyzes, as no one else has, Mexico's post-1970 state transformation. . . . Centeno's book provides a basis for understanding both Mexico's current political crisis and possibly its resolution."
--Susan Eckstein, Social Forces
"[This book] sheds light on a much-lauded case of successful economic reform and provides valuable quantitative material to complement the prevailing sociological work on Mexico. . . . Centeno's literature review of the relationship between democracy and the market is intelligent, comprehensive, nuanced, and up-to-date. In addition to bringing elite studies back into the sociology of Mexico, he also raises meaningful questions about the longer-term political implications of Salinas's tenure. As such, this book lays a solid and necessary foundation for future work on Mexico."
--Diane E. Davis, Contemporary Sociology
"An important study . . . that seeks to explain the people, organization, and ideology that lay behind . . . the Salinas period. Exceptionally strong in its explanation of the political identity of the Salinistas."
--Judith Gentleman, American Political Science Review (APSR)
"An outstanding case study of the vital problem of political and economic restructuring many societies are facing today, the work is significant for the understanding it provides of the Mexican case and in revealing lessons applicable to other regimes. Meticulously researched, systematically organized and well-written, the book contains a wealth of data."
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