chapter  1
9 Pages

Introduction

The cases for ‘grounding’ the study of International Political Economy (IPE) in solid comparative analysis and for ‘contextualising’ the study of Comparative Political Economy (CPE) in analysis of global structural trends are more often made than the projects undertaken. Yet their achievement is essential for understanding the contemporary political economy of development across the regions of the world, and indeed the world order in which they are embedded. There are, in this respect, two sets of central questions that need to be asked by students of both international and comparative political economy relating to the nature of contemporary capitalist development. The first concerns the evolution of different national systems in the context of contemporary transnationalising and globalising processes: in a nutshell, how can we understand the relationship, or tension, between national contingency and diversity, on the one hand, and the reconfigurations of domestic political economy wrought by structural reorganisations, on the other? The second concerns the variety of national and transnational levels at which political economies are organised, and specifically, as the title indicates, their organisation at a regional level: how, in essence, can we understand regional forms of political economy and their relationship with the national systems they accommodate? My purpose in this book is to take these questions to the Southern Cone of Latin America and to use them as the foundations for a detailed study of the contemporary political economy of capitalist development in that region.