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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Have You Been Transformed?



Those elites from the Global South who don’t enter with a Western education and happen to have modalities of understanding poverty, inequity, and economic development that aren’t consistent with the neo-liberal Washington Consensus, are frequently subject to the process of “transformismo.” In this regard, Robert Cox’s discussion is worth quoting at length:

Elite talent from peripheral countries is co-opted into international institutions in the manner of transformismo. Individuals from peripheral countries, though they may come to international institutions with the idea of working from within to change the system, are condemned to work within the structures of the passive revolution. At the best they will help transfer elements of “modernization” to the peripheries but only as these are consistentthe interests of the established local powers. Hegemony is like a pillow: it absorbs blows and sooner or later the would be assailant finds is comfortable to rest upon. Only where representation in international institutions is firmly based upon an articulate social and political challenge to hegemony—upon a nascent historical bloc and counter-hegemony—could participation pose a real threat. The co-optation of outstanding individuals from the peripheries renders this less likely.25

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