“The “triumph” of liberal economic ideas in the developing world” by Biersteker, T.J. (1995): annotated bibliography

The “triumph” of liberal economic ideas in the developing worldBiersteker (1995) explores apparent triumph of liberal economic ideas in the developing world by concentrating on the nature of change in economic thinking. According to this article dramatic changes in economic thinking in developing countries took place mainly during the period of 1980s and 1990s. Differences in perceptions between countries and their impact on implementing liberal economic ideas are stressed by Biersteker (1995) to explain variations on the levels of economic liberalisation amongst Latin American countries.

Biersteker (1995) offers an interesting account of the impact of liberalism on developing countries. Specifically, Biersteker (1995) discounts the impact of following four factors in facilitating change in economic thinking – perception of superiority of liberal ideas by developing countries, exercise of power by international financial institutions such as IMF and the World Bank, intensifying forces of globalisation, and collapse of socialism.

Instead, Biersteker (1995) offers explanation for change in economic thinking from four different perspectives: ideational, systematic, domestic interest, and international institutional perspectives. A noteworthy shortcoming associated with this approach is associated with being overly idealistic. While the author accepts this fact by stating that “each of these should be considered as an idealised construction” (Biersteker, 1995, p.181), nevertheless, the idealised approach undermines the level of practical relevance of the work.

Reyes and Sawyer (2011) offer an alternative approach to the work of Biersteker (1995) by identifying perception of superiority of liberal ideas as the most significant factor fuelling change in economic thinking in developing counties during the last three decades of the last century.

 

References

Biersteker, T.J. (1995) “The “triumph” of liberal economic ideas in the developing world” in Global Change, Regional Response: The New International Context for Development, editor Stallings, B., Cambridge University Press

Reyes, J.A. & Sawyer, C.W. (2011) “Latin American Economic Development” Taylor & Francis

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