ECONOMIC PROSPECTS FOR CENTRAL AMERICA IN THE DECADE OF THE 1990S
One way to describe the forthcoming millennium for Central America is to say that the future will not to be very different from the present. Therefore, a continuance of the "income concentration with growth" strategy is expected. As a matter of fact, this is what the new economic order has come to mean in Central America. Growth is coming back to the region, but at a cost. At present, all other models are on hold--that is, the structuralist, stagnationist, dependency models and others--pending a new tomorrow.
By now it is generally well known and accepted that the essential condition for development is the undergoing of certain internal transformations. Even more important, however, is the recognition that the type of transformation required for development differs between countries and with each new circumstance or crisis.
The basic purpose of this chapter is to briefly describe the internal and external forces that are responsible for the current adjustment process in Central America and to discuss the effects that this transformation has had on the economy and society as a whole. There is no doubt that a new political and economic order has emerged in the 1980s, corresponding with the world's reaction to the new government in Nicaragua in 1979 and to the falling price of coffee, which was four times greater in 1978 than at present. There are some who see the new distribution of power, or its reaffirmation, in Central America as a more recent phenomenon, dating to the election of Violeta Chamorro as president of Nicaragua in 1990. Still others maintain that the new ordering dates to the collapse of the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe in 1989. Whatever the case may be, the world is a very different place today than it was a decade ago or even a few years ago.
The rapid demise of the Soviet Union brought an end to the old bipolar order that had prevailed in Central America and the rest of the world for nearly