Journal of International and Global Studies


Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) have been described as fundamental to the “post-neo-liberal” turn in Latin America. Through an analysis of the stated and unstated goals of three CCT development programs in Latin America, Mexico’s Progresa-Oportunidades, begun in 1997; Brazil’s Programa Bolsa Familia (PBF), started in 2003; and Argentina’s Asignacion Universal por Hijo (AUH), started in 2009, this paper suggests that CCTs portend the continuation of longestablished economic monetarist policies in the region, providing poor families with meager amounts of money, barely sufficient for their subsistence. Despite the fact that progressive populisms in Brazil and Argentina have imbued cash transfers with new discursive qualities, recent CCT programs’ goals replicate those set forth by Mexico’s 1997 Progresa program. Rather than signifying a new state protection from the market, we argue that CCTs ultimately push for the integration of poor children into an idealization of the market and situate poor mothers into a relationship of asymmetrical accountability with the state. Consequently, CCTs imply a deterioration of state responsibilities to the poor through a discourse of opportunities for the development of human capabilities. The assumption of a post-neoliberal present in Latin America, marked by the monetization of state services, does not account for the fact that the ultimate goal of these programs is the creation of citizens who are less inclined to demand state services.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.