Center for the History of Global Development

Globalization and economic reform
in the post-Cold War

The case of People’s Republic of China and Argentina Republic

Title: “Globalization and economic reform in the post-Cold War. The case of People’s Republic of China and Argentina Republic 1989-2001”

This project analyzes the scope of new economic policies during the years of market opening and economic reform in China and Argentina since 1989, and their effects on the economic and political structure.

 There is a strong consensus that economic reforms implemented since 1989 both in China and Argentina derived from a worldwide shift of economic doctrine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The communist countries found themselves faced with a new scenario that demanded more economic integration and the opening of markets, believed to ensure future development.

While in Latin America the developmental state was in crisis, leading to a search for developmental alternatives, the economic development in China resulted in unprecedented growth. To some extent, China's economic development during the 1990s and Argentina's near-term crisis in 2001 can be thought of as two sides of the same coin as responses to similar market reforms. However, this economic reform alone does not explain Argentine deindustrialization and the collapse of the labor market, nor is it sufficient to understand the rise of China as a supplier of manufactures to the global market. What is proposed here is to place economic reform policies within a larger context of previous policies which, although different, had the same purpose.

 The project hypothesizes that the implementation of economic reforms in China and Argentina in the late 1980s and 1990s was due to the pressure of domestic power actors rather than to external factors. In the case of China, it obeyed the economic impulse that sought to accelerate the transformation and modernization of the economy, while maintaining the status quo of centralized power. In the case of Argentina, it sought to dismantle a weakened state in favor of local economic groups. In both cases, economic reform functioned as an economic policy available in the international framework that was interpreted by local actors to design policies according to their interests.



Researcher: Gonzalo Ghiggino