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What if Latin America Ruled the World?: How the South Will Take the North Through the 21st Century Hardcover – September 14, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Press; First Edition edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608192725
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608192724
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,043,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. As the Great Recession rolled across the globe in 2008, the economies of Latin America proved unexpectedly resilient--a happy occurrence that legal scholar Guardiola-Rivera credits to the majority of Latin American societies veering away from the neoliberal paradigm and the shadow of the empire to the north. Guardiola-Rivera puts this remarkable trend among Latin American countries--a category into which the U.S. is destined for inclusion, with its projected Latino majority by 2040--into the historical context of enduring pre-Columbian values and popular resistance to imperialism among the dispossessed of North and South America (indigenous peoples and African slaves disproportionately among them).The nuanced narrative, while sometimes too theoretically subtle, links broad and localized struggles to current issues of global justice. Such key episodes as the Spanish conquest of Incan society, the multiethnic alliances of slave revolts in England's North American colonies, and the worker-farmer alliances in Bolivia's recent water wars highlight the ongoing clash of human and social values that attend globalization in the Americas.
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Review

“Guardiola-Rivera’s What if Latin America Ruled the World? is as broad in its historic sweep as Galeano’s classic.”—Washington Post

"As the Great Recession rolled across the globe in 2008, the economies of Latin America proved unexpectedly resilient--a happy occurrence that legal scholar Guardiola-Rivera credits to the majority of Latin American societies veering away from the neoliberal paradigm and the shadow of the empire to the north. Guardiola-Rivera puts this remarkable trend among Latin American countries--a category into which the U.S. is destined for inclusion, with its projected Latino majority by 2040--into the historical context of enduring pre-Columbian values and popular resistance to imperialism among the dispossessed of North and South America ."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Remarkable, stimulating and illuminating, What if Latin America Ruled the World? is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It makes the reader feel as if they are spinning in a time capsule through a kaleidoscopic virtual reality from one seminal event to another, from one Latin American country to another, and from there to London, New York, Los Angeles and Miami.  This is the kind of book the world needs now, and Oscar Guardiola-Rivera is the perfect man to write it—a breathless rollercoaster ride that also offers a brilliantly creative approach to history and geography.”—Gerald Martin, author of Gabriel García Márquez: A Life

“Oscar Guardiola-Rivera has written a smart, original, provocative, and timely book.  He analyzes and pushes beyond the recent leftward turn in Latin American politics and in so doing he offers a hopeful new genealogy of the globalized present.”—Marcus Rediker, author of The Slave Ship: A Human History 

“Part historical reconstruction, part travelogue, part socio-political prognosis, this book is the single best work I have read on why the 21st century will be the “Century of the Americas,” and why the United State is undergoing a quiet and non-violent revolution that is remaking its demographics, as well as its political and economic institutions. Here you will read the history that you were never taught, and why Latin American economies and societies are some of the most vibrant and promising, notwithstanding centuries of exploitation, and why Hispanics are slowly unifying the continent with their post-racial-transnational-cosmopolitan citizenship. This book should be placed next to those of Arciniegas, Galeano, Paz, Ureña, and Zea. Next time Obama, or for that matter any head of state, visits Latin America, this is the book they should be given as a gift. It is certainly one that Hispanics should read if they are interested in why they should not think themselves, or allow themselves to be portrayed, as a problem, but rather as a promise, as a solution, as indispensable forgers of the “America” that is being fashioned for a new century.”—Eduardo Mendieta, Stony Brook University, author of Global Fragments: Latinamericanisms, Globalizations, and Critical Theory

Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By wsmrer on April 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Assigning stars to Oscar Guardiola-Rivera's work was difficult and yet easy. There is no book I know of that raises the intriguing issues his has. Composed in the context of the Financial Crises wracking the leading industrial countries he asks if we are not seeing the beginning of a new era of economic reality and a new set of dominant powers. This is a run at brilliancy that deserves top rating, and yet his presentation will cause many readers to lay the book aside in fatigue. He has so much he wishes to say and a lack of systematic organization that creates redundancy and confusion. Advice: Wet your finger and mush on; it is absolutely worth the effort.

Why?

Brilliant?
Guardiola-Rivera is primarily an analyzer of Comparative Economic Systems versed in the history and development of his area of Latin America and willing to project where that region is headed and why. He deals with Economic History, Monetary Theory, and Economic Development and has a keen eye for the social dynamics that are shaping Latin American countries in new and challenging directions. One analogy he uses is that history has seen dominate power rise and fall and be replaced by new players: Rome by Spain by England by the United States, in turn, and now perhaps by China, but more likely by Brazil and the associated states of South America and the Caribbean in new alliances and organizations that override the OAS, the IMF, and the World Bank that have functioned as agents of primarily American power. China he sets aside as lacking the dynamics of democratic systems. The dynamics he describes are generated by the long transformation of a repressed region and particularly the repressed indigenous and Afro-Indian populations that support the leaders we are seeing in today's news from the region.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By 漢慶 on July 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Given that neither of the two existing reviews actually give Guardiola-Rivera's book a fair treatment, I thought I would have a go at it to help fellow readers. This is a preliminary review that I shall edit and update as I progress through the book -- and also as I find the time to invest in composition. Please forgive me for the rough quality of my writing or organisation.

Guardiola-Rivera's 'What if Latin America Ruled the World?' resembles an Inca quipu through the weaving together of numerous threads of thought, anecdotes, and facts, creating a work of astounding depth and complexity that recontextualises assumed truths regarding the indigenous peoples of the Americas, history, globalisation, and the current market system.

Indeed, 'What if Latin America Ruled the World?' aims to transform our relationship with the dominant cultural models of nations that profitted from the centuries of conquest and colonisation. It also aims to propose what is available and possible by recreating a paradigm virtually lost to much of the modern world wherein community and quality of life lie at the heart of societal interests and activities.

Guardiola-Rivera's writing can be overly ambitious in his attempt to recreate the Inca quipu -- at least, according to how he understands their cultural significance. Some of his sentences seem ambiguous and require more thought than necessary to deduce the intended meaning. All in all, his command of language is extraordinary in both its elegance and power to convey the bigger picture.

'What if Latin America Ruled the World?' probably should not be considered light reading easily completed within a day or even a week. More akin to a philosophical treatise, like the works of Foucault and Heidegger, this book demands time, thought, patience, and discussion. Cursory reading of this book does not do justice to either Guardiola-Rivera's work or the reader himself.
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By Trjgirl on November 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Most of his critics admit they didn't even read the book, just skimmed the start looking for something to get angry about. I'd guess their fears have them nervous, and the title taps into that fear, much like Obama's color sets off racial fears among Tea Party followers.

For an academic book it's an absorbing read. It is a discourse, not a history narrative. One doesn't put footnotes in it any more than one would in an editorial or sermon.

OGR's strength is his understanding of a collective mentality of united communities in Latin America going back to pre-Columbian conquest. That he sees as an ultimate explanation for the leftist turn in Latin America. For the first time, Latin America is almost entirely free of US and European control. (The big exceptions being Mexico, and Honduras thanks to a US backed coup.)

Obama could not have been elected without a huge Latino swing vote (as was also true of Kennedy), and Latinos are growing in number in places one might not expect, from New Orleans to Iowa to Indiana. Salsa outsells mayonnaise and tortillas outsell white bread. No wonder attempts to demonize workers without papers fall flat, and candidates who do so don't last long. OGR's thesis has potential.

I'm looking forward to 2040.
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13 of 21 people found the following review helpful By James J. Varela on December 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Latin America is currently doing very well for the first since the 1960's but the author's assertion that somehow Latin America speaks as one voice is incorrect. Although they so seem to agree on common issues each nation has a national identity all it's own. Italian immigrants for example left a huge imprint on the national character of Argentina and Uruguay in a manner seen nowhere else in the Americas except the USA. Latin America still has a long way to go before an important area like the EU. Rampant corruption, failed educational systems, appalling crime rates to name a few are major obstacles these nation's face. The sunami of desperate illegal aliens that has hit the USA in recent years are the living proof that there are still severe problems across the Americas. For the author to say Latin America can lead the world is very premature.
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What if Latin America Ruled the World?: How the South Will Take the North Through the 21st Century
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