The Capitalist Revolution in Latin America

Oxford University Press
Free sample

The political and social upheavals that have transformed the economies of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union during the past ten years have sparked considerable interest and speculation on the part of Western observers. Less noted, though hardly less dramatic, has been the revolutionary spread of free market capitalism throughout much of Latin America during the same period. In a wide-ranging survey that illuminates both the history and present business climate of the region, Paul Roberts and Karen Araujo describe the economic transformation currently taking place in Latin America. And as they do so, they also reexamine many of the prevailing orthodoxies concerning international development and the regulation of markets, and point to the success of privatization and free enterprise in Mexico, Argentina, and Chile as harbingers of the economic future for both hemispheres. The potential strength of the economies of Central and South America has always been obvious, the authors point out. Abundant natural resources, combined with vast expanses of fertile land and a sophisticated and relatively cohesive social culture, are found throughout the region. But the authors show that the Latin American nations were slow to discard the economic and social climate that they had inherited from their Spanish colonial masters, who had ruled by selling government jobs--creating a network of privilege--and by suppressing through over-regulation the development of markets for goods, services, and capital. The prevalent cultural attitude in Latin America was hostile to commerce, trade, and work--indeed, it was more socially acceptable to court government privilege than to compete in markets. The authors further show that U.S. aid packages to the region actually reinforced this culture of privilege and further hampered the growth of a free economy. Not until the 1980s did the picture begin to change, largely in response to the economic crises brought on through catastrophic national debts and hyperinflation. The book describes the efforts of the Salinas, Pinochet, and Menem governments to combat the established interests of the local elites and the international development agencies, to privatized state industries, and to established independent markets. In this new climate, private capitalists and entrepreneurs are feted and celebrated, and productivity has risen to levels unimagined only a few years before. But this dramatic economic turnaround, the authors show, is a mixed blessing for the U.S. For if it provides us with a vast new market for our goods, it has also created a powerful new competitor for capital investment. To keep American and foreign capitalists investing in America, the government needs to make changes, which the authors outline in a provocative conclusion. Central and South America have a combined population of 460 million people, a potential market greater than the United States and Canada combined or the European Community. Thus the rise of free market capitalism in Latin America is of vital interest to the United States. The Capitalist Revolution in Latin America provides an insightful portrait of this dramatic economic turn-around, illuminating the economic consequences for our own society.
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About the author

Paul Craig Roberts is Chairman of the Institute for Political Economy in Washington, D.C. and Research Fellow of the Independent Institute in Oakland, California. A former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, he is a columnist for Business Week and a director of companies with business interests in Latin America. Karen Lafollette Araujo is President of the Hemispheric Studies Institute, Research Associate at the Institute for Political Economy, Research Fellow of the Independent Institute, and Visiting Fellow of the Universidad Nacional Andres Bello, in Santiago, Chile.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Apr 17, 1997
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9780198027195
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Development / Economic Development
Business & Economics / Free Enterprise & Capitalism
Business & Economics / International / Economics
History / Latin America / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A thousand years of legal protections against tyranny are being stolen right before our eyes. Under the guise of good intentions, personal liberties as old as the Magna Carta have become casualties in the wars being waged on pollution, drugs, white-collar crime, and all of the other real and imagined social ills. The result: innocent people caught up in a bureaucratic web that destroys lives and livelihoods; businesses shuttered because of victimless infractions; a justice system that values coerced pleas over the search for truth; bullying police agencies empowered to confiscate property without due process.

"A devastating indictment of our current system of justice." — Milton Friedman

In this provocative book, Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence M. Stratton show how the law, which once shielded us from the government, has now become a powerful weapon in the hands of overzealous prosecutors and bureaucrats. Lost is the foundation upon which our freedom rest—the intricate framework of Constitutional limits that protect our property, our liberty, and our lives. Roberts and Stratton convincingly argue that this abuse of government power doesn't have ideological boundaries. Indeed, conservatives and liberals alike use prosecutors, regulators, and courts to chase after their own favorite "devils," to seek punishment over justice and expediency over freedom. The authors present harrowing accounts of people both rich and poor, of CEOs and blue-collar workers who have fallen victim to the tyranny of good intentions, who have lost possessions, careers, loved ones, and sometimes even their lives.

This book is a sobering wake-up call to reclaim that which is rightly ours—liberty protected by the rule of law.


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