The Entrepreneurial Enterprise of Changing Capitals across Regional Cultures: The Case of Belize
Sam M. Hai
Belize is a small country characterized by sharp cultural distinctions beween regions. Consequently, it is ideal for studying the effects of cultural distinctiveness on managerial, entrepreneurial, and governmental decisions and enterprises. In addition, Belize had the unique experience of having its capital relocated from Belize City to Belmopan, which is situated in a region with contrasting cultural characteristics. The move has not proven successful; in fact, it has fallen short of all earlier projections.
This study illustrates one of the most penetrating means of analyzing a country's regional cultural identities in the context of a large-scale monumental entrepreneurial project (i.e., moving the capital inland) that did not work. We will also compare Belize's relocation of its capital to Brazil's relocation of its capital to Brasilia, and show why the Brazilian case has far exceeded the original expectations. The lessons we may derive from this study emphasize the role regional culture plays in such a social experiment.
This study avoids anecdotal analysis of regional cultural characteristics. Instead, the analysis is based on census data obtained from the government of Belize and on other data obtained from the American Embassy in Belize and the World Bank, to name a few. We analyze the ethnoracial characteristics of various regions just prior to the move in 1970 and again ten years later in 1980. Although the Belizean regional____________________