Costa Rica: Quest for Democracy

By John A. Booth | Go to book overview

8
POLITICAL ECONOMY IN TRANSITION

This chapter examines Costa Rica's political economy, the relationship between the nation's economy (in the world economic context) and its politics. It reviews the nation's political economic evolution, focusing principally upon successive development models and their implications for politics and public policy.

The intersection of politics and economics raises important questions for economic development: What should the nation produce -- what mix of primary products, manufactured goods, and services? How should economic growth be promoted -- by the state, by private initiative, or by some combination of both? What relationship should the economy have to the world economy -- should it remain insular or embrace vigorous trade? Who should provide the capital necessary for investment in economic growth -- citizens through taxes paid to the state, private initiative, or foreign investors? Who should benefit from growth -- investors through profits or the citizenry through tax-financed services? The answers to many such questions are obviously determined by national circumstances such as size, location, climate, natural and human resources, population, and the existing level of development. National political economic models, however, represent nations' attempts to influence as many of these variables as possible.

Political economy may also affect democracy and social justice. One fundamental democratic question concerns who shall influence decisions about the economy -- the people acting directly, a representative government influenced by popular opinion, or the owners and managers of capital alone. Shall the array of economic questions subject to popular influence through governmental control be small or large? There are also critical distributive issues at stake in a political economic model. To what extent should the state intervene to redistribute costs and benefits? Who should pay for the operation of the government and services?

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Costa Rica: Quest for Democracy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xiii
  • Acronyms xvii
  • Preface xxi
  • 1 - Latin American Democracy and Costa Rica 1
  • Notes 12
  • 2 - Contemporary Costa Rica In Central America 17
  • Notes 30
  • 3 - The Historical Development of Costa Rican Democracy 32
  • Notes 53
  • 4 - The Political Framework of Democracy 56
  • Notes 78
  • 5 - Social Structure and Civil Society 82
  • Notes 100
  • 6 - Political Participation 103
  • Notes 125
  • 7 - Political Culture 129
  • Notes 151
  • 8 - Political Economy in Transition 154
  • Notes 174
  • 9 - Costa Rica in the World 177
  • Conclusions 192
  • 10 - Analysi5 and Conclusions: Can Democracy Survive? 195
  • Notes 208
  • Appendix 211
  • Index 219
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