Comparing the rise and fall of the authoritarian developmental state in Brazil and South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • SDG 8
  • Abstract:

    In both Brazil and South Africa ruling elites assumed that legitimacy could be generated by material performance and thus delay complete democratisation. However, in both, the very conditions nurturing the emergent developmental state also contained the seeds of its own demise. The restructuring of the labour force, prompted by increased dependence on foreign technology and therefore skilled labour, coincided with deteriorating worldwide economic conditions, prompting increased friction with domestic capital, as the latter found themselves not only having to compete with state firms, but frustrated by the limiting growth prospects of low wage economies. Unable to sustain the high-growth performance of the 1960s in South Africa and the 1970s in Brazil, new social forces emerged, challenging the basis of the growth coalition between the state and capital and thus rupturing the embedded autonomy upon which the authoritarian state was built.