Solid Waste Management and Recycling


The global economic crisis in the 1970s led to significant transformations in international and national institutional arrangements. Major actors on the international stage countries such as the US and the UK, transnational corporations and the Bretton Woods institutions strongly advocated the primacy of the market and the retreat of the state.

Such neo-liberal ideas on market liberalisation and deregulation were imposed on many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America under the aegis of structural adjustment programmes.

One area governments in the South were strongly advised to withdraw from was that of direct provision of basic services.

However, the results of these reform programmes were less successful than expected. Although state governments reduced spending and economic growth occurred after an initial period in some countries, the late 1980s were characterised by increasing disparities between rich and poor.

Within many southern states, urban poverty and informalisation of employment and economic activities grew rapidly, presenting huge problems for local authorities to deal with.

In many cities, new forms of collective organisation started to emerge among poor households together with a variety of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in order to counter poverty and promote community and neighbourhood development.

In the 1990s, the limits of the free market approach were increasingly recognized by even its most fervent advocates.

Furthermore, the collapse of state communism and the fall of the Berlin Wall had created an entirely new political climate, one favourable to the democratic reform of state bureaucracies.

The difficulties that many countries in the south, but also in the former communist world, experienced in their transition to a market economy also fuelled an interest in the (democratic) institutions that underpin processes of development.

Economists have expressed this interest by looking at the role of meso-level institutions and how they influence economic growth1 

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