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Silent Revolution: The Rise and Crisis of Market Economics in Latin America


Paperback, 272 pages
ISBN: 1-58367-091-2
Released: November 2003

Throughout the 1990s Latin America was seen as the poster child of neoliberalism, as governments opened their economies to imports, slashed social spending, and gave priority to attracting foreign investment. In the process, runaway inflation was held in check and currencies stabilized. But this was done at huge environmental and human cost. Global corporations and small elite in Latin America grew rich, but the bulk of the population suffered.

The first edition of Green’s Silent Revolution, published in 1995, described the imposition of neoliberal economic models in Latin America, the role of the IMF and World Bank in enforcing them, and their consequences. This second, revised and updated edition makes clear that the “miracle” of the 1990s has come to an end. Green extends his analysis into the present, showing how the economic meltdown that is now taking place in Latin America was prepared by an economic strategy that could never live up to its own claims.

This new edition was completed in a moment when the Argentinian economy is in ruins, Brazil is on the brink of collapse, riots are taking place in Uruguay, Peru, and Paraguay, a U.S. supported coup has just been averted in Venezuela. It will be an essential work for understanding ongoing developments in the region.

“This second edition of a very good book initially published in 1995 has been expanded and thoroughly revised, updated and to a large extent rewritten. Although Green is critical of recent economic policies in Latin America, he is never dogmatic, and unlike many critics, he discusses alternatives. He conveys an impressive amount of information, but since he develops contexts so carefully, the result is a well ordered, rigorous, and coherent presentation. Moreover, Green writes clearly and with polish, producing a book that has proven to be accessible and interesting …. Those who know the first edition will find the second edition to be familiar in positive ways, but to a great extent, the second edition is a new book. Tables, excellent appendices, and recommendations for further reading organized by topic. Highly recommended.”

—CHOICE, Current Reviews for Academic Libraries

“In the face of frustrations with neoliberal reforms in Latin America, the search for alternative views and paradigms is in full swing. This new edition of Silent Revolution is thus particularly welcome. It provides a breath of fresh air in this quest.”

—JOSÉ ANTONIO OCAMPO, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

“A dynamic and comprehensive analysis of the neoliberal reform experience in Latin America over the last three decades. While passionate in its tone, it never loses intellectual rigor and balance in judgment. It is essential reading not only for those who are interested in Latin America, but for anyone who is interested in the broader issues of economic development and globalization.”

—DR. HA JOON CHANG, University of Cambridge, author of Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective

“With the Argentine financial crisis still reverberating around the continent, this book will stimulate thinking on why neoliberalism has produced such modest gains in Latin America and encourage readers to address the alternatives—however embryonic they may appear at this stage.”

—PROFESSOR VICTOR BULMER-THOMAS, Director, Royal Institute of International Affairs, author of The Economic History of Latin America Since Independence

“Well written and highly entertaining. This book is a must for any student of contemporary development issues. It should also be part of the background knowledge of any policymaker and politician.”


“[Duncan] Green presents an excellent overview and analysis of the trajectory of the Latin American economies and societies . . . . [A] wonderful introduction to the complexities of the economic crisis still facing the region”

—CHOICE, American Library Association

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. State versus Market: The Rise and Fall of Import Substitution
  3. Poverty Brokers: The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank
  4. The Lost Decade: Latin America 1982–1991
  5. Silent Revolution: Latin America 1991–2001
  6. Export or Die: Export-Led Growth and Regional Trade
  7. Silences of the Revolution: The Human and Environmental Costs of Adjustment
  8. For and Against: The Politics of Neoliberalism
  9. Other Paths: The Search for Alternatives
  10. Conclusions

Appendix A: Country-by-Country Guide to the Latin American and Caribbean Economies, 1982–2002

Appendix B: Comparison of Import Substitution, Neo Structuralism, and Neoliberalism


Further Reading



Duncan Green is a policy analyst at CAFOD, the Catholic aid agency for England and Wales and director of research at the Just Pensions Project on socially responsible investment. He has written widely on globalization and Latin American affairs and is the author of Faces of Latin America (2nd ed., 1997) and Hidden Lives: Voices of Children in Latin America and the Caribbean (1998).

SKU: mrp0912 Categories: , ,
Topics: Movements Places: Latin America

Publication Date: April 2003

Number of Pages: 272

Paperback ISBN: 9781583670910

eBook ISBN: 9781583675045