Reoriente • vol.1, n.2 jul/dez 2021 • DOI: 10.54833/issn2764-104X.v1i2p198-201 199
MARTINS, Carlos Eduardo. Dependency, Neoliberalism
and Globalization in Latin America, Brill, 2020. 349 páginas
Carlos Alberto Serrano Ferreira*
In the midst of the world pandemic, in which the ows of goods and people from
capitalist globalization are disrupted, when the normal functioning of the capitalist
system is suspended, we must take our time to reect on this process. And on
several topics that have normally been circulated by the media, without much depth,
incorporated in our debates almost thoughtlessly. Globalization, world economic
crisis, neoliberalism, development and underdevelopment, decadence of the
American power, Chinese rise... One of the major problems is that they are presented
from an innity of conicting and disjointed concepts and perspectives, which
makes it dicult for the lay citizen to understand and form his own interpretation. It
is the didactic presentation of these main concepts and their integrated analysis that
will allow us to understand the various phenomena of our world reality, their main
trends and possibilities, from a perspective that interests the peoples, in a perspective
of development and construction of a sustainable, fair, progressive and fraternal
alternative society.
is is the task proposed by the Brazilian university professor Carlos
Eduardo Martins in his book, rst published in Portuguese by the publisher
Boitempo,Globalização, dependência e neoliberalismo na América Latina. is book
was rst launched in 2011, and now has a new revised edition, edited in English by
Brill, with the title Dependency, Neoliberalism and Globalization in Latin America,
which makes this important contribution to Social Sciences accessible to an even
wider audience.
Despite the title, although focusing attentively on the Latin American reality, a
region with which the author is deeply connected, through multiple networks, above
all due to his intellectual and political commitment to overcoming historical limits to
the development and rights of his peoples, the book gives us clues to a much broader,
worldwide understanding.
Martins’ analyzes are valid for vast majorities in the so-called ird World, but not
only. See in particular the case of the peoples of southern and eastern Europe, which
* Mestre em Ciência Política, na variante Cidadania e Governação, pela Universidade Lusófona de
Humanidades e Tecnologias (Lisboa, Portugal), com especialização em Relações Internacionais pela
Universidade Candido Mendes (Rio de Janeiro, Brasil), graduado em Ciências Sociais pela Universidade
Federal Fluminense (Niterói, Brasil).
has witnessed a process of building economic dependence to the Nordic countries.
For Italians, Portuguese, Spanish, Greeks, Romanians, Hungarians, etc., as for many
of the peoples of the world, the promises of neoliberalism were frustrating. e
ideology according to which the liberalization of the markets would transform the
ird World into the First World has not been fullled, on the contrary: truly ird
World zones are formed in the First World countries and typical mechanisms of Latin
American capitalism, such as overexploitation of work, are beginning to be present
in several European countries and in the systemic center, the USA. Inequalities in
income, life expectancy, access to basic social services, such as health, education and
pensions, both from the point of view of class, national origin, gender or race, are
increasingly clear, and are in many cases become explosive.
e author, like the book, carries out the integration of the main Latin American
contribution to Social Sciences, the Marxist Dependency eory, created in the
sixties and seventies by authors such as Ruy Mauro Marini, eotonio dos Santos
(who prefaced the book) and Vania Bambirra with whom Martins worked directly,
and the World System eories, developed by the American Immanuel Wallerstein,
the Milanese Giovanni Arrighi and the German Andre Gunder Frank. In this way,
the analyzes that helped to clarify that Latin American underdevelopment – and I
would add, Asian and African – was not a time delay, nor the persistence of pre-
capitalist remnants that could be overcome by a modernization process, but the
historical social form of capitalism in the region, formed in a dialectical relationship
with the development of capitalism in the central countries, it becomes part of a
global systemic analysis and, therefore, gains even more explanatory capacity, both
in depth and in extension.
It is noticeable in the book, as the author himself claries, the break with the
liberal tradition and the search for integration between dierent sciences, resuming
an interrupted path of the tradition of Latin American social thought, breaking
with this fragmentation and incorporating the dimension of time in its articulated
multiplicity: the times of structures, cycles and events, thought by Fernand Braudel.
Such an approach also chooses to break with methodological nationalism, and
integrates national and global; world superstructures and the world system.
Reading the seven chapters (more introduction and conclusion) allows us to
understand what is most current in Social Sciences and in the debate about capitalism
and dependence. In his rst chapter, entitled ‘Social Sciences and the Challenges
of Globalization, Martins reviews the various existing views on the phenomenon
of globalization, articulating the dialogue with them from the point of view of the
combined analysis of the Marxist eory of Dependence and of the World System
Reoriente • vol.1, n.2 jul/dez 2021 • DOI: 10.54833/issn2764-104X.v1i2p198-201 201
In the following, ‘e Modern World System and Capitalism: Origins, Cycles
and Secularity’, he explains capitalist development based on the concept of historical
capitalism, articulating secular trends and existing cycles, bringing Braudel and Marx
closer, but dialoguing with other currents as the Schumpeterian tradition and neo-
Schumpeterian, regulationist and institutionalist.
In the third chapter, ‘Globalization and the Crisis of the Modern World System, he
brings us another key element: the understanding of globalization as a revolutionary
force, at the same time destructive and constructive, product of a Scientic-Technical
Revolution that took a fabulous leap in the productive forces and placed the need for
a new planetary civilization. Martins points out that we nd ourselves in a historical
bifurcation that, in our words, is the choice between an increasingly barbaric and
imperial capitalism or a new socialist civilization, realization of the most sublime
human aspirations.
Following, in ‘e Impasses of US Hegemony: 21st Century Perspectives, the
author discusses the two concepts present on American hegemony, the one that arms
its crisis and decay and the ones that arm its strengthening. Martins puts himself in
the rst group, and brings strong arguments to corroborate this position, which seem
unquestionable to us. e predictive capacity of the book is fully conrmed on this
theme, since when it was published in 2011 the advanced state of degeneration of this
power was still much less noticeable.
In the h chapter, called ‘Dependency and Development in the Modern World
System, the author presents the relationship between development and dependence
based on Latin American theoretical contributions to understand the reasons for
the delay and the role of international capital in it. en, in ‘Revisiting the Political
Economy of Dependency in the Light of Marx and Contemporary Capitalism,
addresses the concept developed by Ruy Mauro Marini of overexploitation of work
and advances, including, with a mathematical formalization of it, a gap hitherto
present in theory. Finally, in ‘Latin America: Dependency, Neoliberalism and New
Patterns of Development, presents the harmful eects of neoliberalism in Latin
America, but which, with the necessary adaptations, reects, as already mentioned,
much of what the dierent peoples around the world are going through under the
hegemony of this economic and social conception.
As also professor Emir Sader says in the ear of the book in portuguese, it is
essential “think capitalism from the perspective of anti-capitalism, dependence from
the perspective of emancipation and reality from the perspective of its revolutionary
transformation. erefore, introducing a global analysis, never losing sight of the
totality, in the study of globalization is the only way to understand it. Only in view
of historical capitalism in its multiple constitutive aspects, as well as in the entire
world extension that it covers, is it possible to understand its impacts on particular
societies and regions. It is in the articulation between the world and the corner where
we live that we can shed light on our past and thus point out the ways to overcome
the dependence of our peoples. is task seems to have been brilliantly accomplished
in this book.