Social Consequences of State Breakdown

  • Jo-Marie Burt


Neoliberal acolytes celebrated the breakdown of the state. In the prologue to a book outlining neoliberal policy prescriptions for Peru, Richard Webb (1991:1) argued that the collapse of the state—he called it the “de facto Privatization” of the “predatory state”—was a positive development that reflected the degree to which a highly interventionist and overbearing state was being imperceptibly overthrown by its citizens. According to Webb, the state had become so onerous that social groups were taking matters into their own hands. He argued that Peruvian society was sidestepping cumbersome state regulations, leading to an explosion of the informal sector and shrinking the tax base of the state. State-owned enterprises were in a state of collapse, he noted, and the state was increasingly absent from structuring daily relations. For Webb and his colleagues, this breakdown of the state proved the veracity of free market tenets such as those espoused by Hernando de Soto in his famous tract The Other Path (1986).


Civil Society Police Officer Poverty Line Police Force Political Violence 
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© Jo-Marie Burt 2007

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  • Jo-Marie Burt

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