The Globalization of Fruit, neo-liberalism and the question of sustainability: Lessons from Chile

Publication Type: 
Volume: 
10
Number: 
1
Page Numbers: 
201-227
Published On: 
1998

The globalisation of the fresh fruit complex has provided a 'window' of export opportunity for a range of Lesser Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs). Southern Hemisphere LEDCs, in particular, are penetrating high-income Northern Hemisphere 'counterseasonal' markets. This process has been greatly facilitated by the widespread shift to neo-liberal economic policy in such countries. Within this free-market environment, a number of considerable macroeconomic 'successes' have been recorded. However, the expansion of nontraditional fruit exports tends to induce a range of economic, social, political and environmental tensions which pose a threat to the sustainability of such systems. This article explores the above through an in-depth study of Chile. In a macroeconomic sense, Chile is the most 'successful' example of a Southern Hemisphere non-traditional fruit exporting country. However, a range of 'ext6ernal' and ;internal' tensions exist which jeopardise the long-run viability of the fruit export sector. It is argued that current problems could be alleviated by means of state intervention and regulation. Such intervention should seek to correct the damaging structural imbalances created by exposure to global economic forces, and compensate for the wholly inadequate regulatory approach which has characterised Chilean neo-liberalism. In order to optimise the benefits of outward orientation in the fruit sector, Chile, and other states, must actively 'wedge open' the window of opportunity provided by globalisation. This requires moving beyond neo-liberalism, towards a 'neo-structural' policy framework.