The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South

Vijay Prashad, Author
Vijay Prashad. Verso (Norton, dist.), $26.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-84467-952-2
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-78168-158-9
Ebook - 233 pages - 978-1-84467-953-9
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-91810-7
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This exhaustively documented work of economic and diplomatic history analyzes hemispheric inequality between the wealthy industrialized north and the “global south” (less-developed nations that are emerging from their postcolonial economic torpor), and challenges the “tireless and heartless cycle” of the modern capitalist economy. Prashad (The Darker Nations), a Trinity College South Asian history professor, angrily indicts the capitalist bloc of the North. He focuses his study on the U.N. committees and nongovernmental organizations that challenge the established economic order through conferences, communiqués, and resolutions from the 1970s to the present. Prashad astutely pegs the rise of the so-called BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) as an upending factor in the current North-South economic alignment, but notes that they are more interested in joining the neoliberal regime than altering it. A lengthy, laudatory section on Venezuela under Hugo Chavez fails to address many of the dispiriting aspects of his authoritarian rule, both economic and political, and leaves Prashad’s righteous agenda (which is better suited to academics and specialists) grounded less in reality than in sympathetic ideology. (Feb.)
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