K. P. Jameson
Choice magazine, September 2009.
Bresser-Pereira provides a critique of Brazilian economic policy since 1994, along with proposals for a "New Developmentalism". His program aims to increase economic growth and to strengthen the role of the Brazilian state in confronting international pressures from the US, the World Bank, and the IMF. He ascribes Brazil’s mediocre growth performance to policies that removed controls on capital inflows, maintained high interest rates, and resulted in an overvalued exchange rate. His argument is outlined in a 28 page introduction, with the remaining then chapters providing detailed treatment of his critique and proposed alternative. The book is an excellent summary of Brazilian macroeconomic policy and performance since 1995. Its relevance extends to much of Latin America, where economic challenges have differed only in degree from Brazil’s. In addition, variants of "developmental nationalism" have been adopted by many South American countries. The current international financial turmoil and renewed Latin American assertiveness, led by Venezuela with Brazil an active participant, ensure that this policy trust will dominate the next decade. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers, upper-division undergraduate students and above.