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November 6, 2000

Two new books for Manuel Pastor

By Jennifer McNulty

Manuel Pastor
Photo: r.r.jones
With interests as diverse as community development and Latin American economics, Manuel Pastor, professor of Latin American and Latino studies, works simultaneously on multiple projects. This year, two major ones have come to fruition with the publication of two new books.

Pastor is coauthor of the new book Regions That Work: How Cities and Suburbs Can Grow Together, and he coedited Modern Political Economy and Latin America: Theory and Policy.

Regions That Work offers a new vision of community-based regionalism that emphasizes equity. The authors argue that metropolitan areas must reduce poverty in order to grow and that low-income individuals must make regional connections in order to escape poverty. Their analysis of Los Angeles demonstrates that the roots of the unrest of 1992 lay in regional economic deterioration and that the recovery was slowed by insufficient attention to the poor.

The book provides a history and critique of community-development corporations, a statistical analysis of the poverty-growth relationship in 74 metropolitan areas, a detailed study of three regions that have produced superior equity outcomes, and a provocative call for new policies and new politics.

Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson has given the book rave reviews. "This is a remarkable and timely book," he said. "A number of scholars and policy analysts have argued the case for uniting city and suburb. However, no study provides more compelling arguments for regional economic integration."

Pastor, director of the UCSC Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community, was joined on the project by Peter Dreier, the E. P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics at Occidental College and director of the Urban & Environmental Policy Program; J. Eugene Grigsby III, director of the Advanced Policy Institute and professor at UCLA's School of Public Policy and Social Research; and Marta Lopez-Garza, an assistant professor of women's studies and Chicano/Chicana studies at California State University, Northridge. The book is part of the Globalization and Community Series published by the University of Minnesota Press.

Pastor's second book of the year, Modern Political Economy and Latin America: Theory and Policy (Boulder, CO: Perseus Books, 2000), consists of carefully selected readings in Latin American political economy. Pastor, along with coeditors Jeffry Frieden of Harvard University and Michael Tomz of Stanford University, include an introductory chapter and a concluding article, as well as brief introductions to each section.

The publication of the book is well-timed, as Latin American economies undergo profound transformations. In the wake of the decade-long debt crisis that has plagued Latin America, reliance on the market is increasing and authoritarian rule is giving way to new or reborn democratic institutions. The field of Latin American studies needs to be brought up to date with recent developments in theoretical economics and political science.

Pastor, whose background is in economics, has focused on such issues as distribution and stabilization, the political economy of trade reform, and the dynamics of transition in Cuba. Frieden, a professor of government at Harvard, specializes in the politics of international monetary and financial relations. Tomz, an assistant professor of political science at Stanford, specializes in relations between sovereign governments and foreign creditors during the 19th and 20th centuries.

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