Monday, March 26, 2007

Weekly debate: Democracy and the economy in Latin America

Over the past few years countries throughout Latin America are enjoying extraordinary economic growth as shown by the following examples:

While the news may be encouraging for investment and the overall economy of a country, economic development has not met rising growth. In Venezuela, for instance, a miniscule percentage of GDP goes to the poor, while 40% of the region lives below the poverty line.

It is this lack of economic development that has hurt democratic regimes throughout the region. Regardless of a government’s ideology or how much an economy has increased abject poverty continues, and this has gradually led to a lack of public confidence in democracy.

Now we’re not advocating a turn towards fascism or extreme socialism, but something has to be done in order for Latin Americans to regain faith in democracy and its institutions. So what do you think? What changes need to be done? Will democracy continue in the Americas or revert towards extremism?

Links- Bloomberg, MercoPress, Forbes, El Universal, Yahoo! News, Houston Chronicle

Image- Adelante! (Scene from the documentary “Favela Rising”)


Penelope Anthias said...

Peru is also a good example of strong economic growth but a failure to use this wealth to address the high level of poverty and inequality, which contributes towards the growing sense of disillusionment with politics. I recently attended a conference on 'the politics of economic integration in Peru' (read a summary on, which offered some good insights into these issues.

Erwin C. said...

Thank you Penelope.

We'll be sure to place your blog on the blogroll (coming soon!)