Democracy in Latin America: Colombia and Venezuela

By Donald L. Herman | Go to book overview

bourgeoisie." 73 In Colombia there is an ideological limitation on statism; policy makers have a positive view of the domestic bourgeoisie.

Second, this chapter speculated about some changes that seem likely with the coming "coal bonanza," arguing that state change, in both economic and social terms, might be likely with the dramatic increases of government revenues with El Cerrejoón coal development. However, I pointed out that although the new revenues might be necessary for state change, they surely were not sufficient.

In the end, the Colombian state might not change at all, not because the traditional state is so resilient or because the El Cerrejoón surpluses would probably be used to maintain the state, but because there are no surpluses. The world energy panorama changed dramatically after the Exxon calculations of July 1980. The technocrats of the world's largest TNE did not, at least in their communications with the Colombian government, consider the possibility that there would be an oil glut, with resulting lower nominal prices. As a result, they grossly overestimated future prices of coal.

Apparently, technocrats of the rentier Colombian institutionalized state accepted INTERCOR's projections of the government's profits, although the projections did not include the cost of paying interest on the loans necessary for northern El Cerrejoón preoperational investments. By mid-1985 new projections appeared that did include such costs. Rather than making profits on El Cerrejoón coal, some argued, the government would lose 10 U.S. dollars on each ton exported! 74 In central El Cerrejoón the consortium withdrew, presumably because of marketing difficulties.

The conclusion might best be, then, that the Colombian state will remain the same. If El Cerrejoón leads to state changes, it will be because of the financial bonanza that seemed so likely but did not take place, rather than because of the one that did.


NOTES
1
"Observaciones acerca del modelo colombiano de desarrollo, 1958-1980", Estrategia econoómica y financiera 38 ( October 1930):9-10.
2
Alfred Stepan, The State and Society: Peru in Comparative Perspective ( Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1978) xi, his emphasis.
3
Joel S. Migdal, "A Model of State-Society: Relations", in New Directions in Comparative Politics, ed. Howard J. Wiarda ( Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1985), pp. 46-47.
4
Migdal, "A Model of State-Society Relations", p. 47.
5
Peter Evans, Dependent Development: The Alliance of Multinational, State, and Local Capital in Brazil ( Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1979); David G. Becker , The New Bourgeoisie and the Limits of Dependency: Mining, Class, and Power in "Revolutionary" Peru ( Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1983).
6
James L. Payne, "The Oligarchy Muddle", World Politics 20 ( April 1968):43953.
7
Francisco Leal Buitrago and Harvey F. Kline, "Caracteristicas baásicas y exper-"

-104-

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