Sara Schoonmaker uses the technology industry to delve into one of the key political conflicts of our time: the construction of a free trade regime determined to open markets around the world to global capital, and attempts by Latin American, African, and other governments to resist this process. The Brazilian computer case is a prime example of a nationalist effort to promote local growth of a key high-technology industry—an effort that was eventually dismantled under the pressures of what Schoonmaker views as part of a broader process of neoliberal globalization.
High-Tech Trade Wars presents a multidimensional view of the globalization process, where economic changes are shaped by political struggle and cultural discourse. It includes interviews with Brazilian industrialists and state officials involved with implementing and, eventually, dismantling Brazil’s informatics policy, and discussions of grassroots-level protests organized against neoliberal globalization during the recent WTO meetings in Seattle and Davos, Switzerland.
India, Brazil, and Korea are three of the developing world's technological leaders and largest industrial producers. All began to systematically promote a local electronics industry in the late 1960s. Different strategies were chosen, different trajectories followed, and different outcomes resulted. Sridharan interprets this experience in comparative perspective in the light of the concept of strategic capacity (of developing countries to effect industrialization), refining and further augmenting it to advance the theoretical debate on the political economy of industrialization. This book will be of great interest to students, scholars, researchers, and policy makers involved with industrial development and public policy.
The Politics of Capitalist Transformationis the only book-length study of the highly protectionist Brazilian informatics policy from its origins in the early 1970s to the collapse of the market reserve in the early 1990s and its impact in subsequent decades.
Jeff Seward provides a sophisticated political analysis of how state activists constructed high levels of state autonomy to try to shift Brazil to a new variety of capitalism by eclipsing the multinational companies (especially IBM) that dominated the Brazilian computer sector and replacing them with local companies with 100 percent Brazilian technology and ownership. This ambitious policy required repeated shifts of political strategy and policymaking institutions to respond to a constantly changing economic and political environment as Brazil made a dramatic transition from military dictatorship to democracy.
The innovative framework to analyze state autonomy and the sophisticated political analysis of the policymaking process will be of interest to scholars and students of Brazilian and Latin American political economy, varieties of capitalism theory, state theory, democratic transition theory, and high technology policymaking in developing countries.