The Problem of Democracy in Latin America

By Martin C. Needler | Go to book overview

8
External Dependence

In other chapters, we have explored how the prospect of a country's achieving a stable democracy is significantly affected by the degree of equality with which property and income are distributed in that society, and by the acceptance of a government as legitimate in the light of its origins and performance. Those prospects are also affected by the degree to which the country's government is the master of its own destiny. The present chapter will consider this last point, that is, the ways in which a country's political development is conditioned by the degree of its external dependence.

In general, as we have seen in previous chapters, the most dependent countries in Latin America are those in and around the Caribbean, whose economies were often developed specifically to supply the temperate-zone countries of Europe with products they could not raise themselves—in other words, whose economies were designed for dependency.Not only does this external dependence condition and, in a sense, distort the country's economy and thus its social structure, but it may also become the axis around which the country's politics revolves. Revolutions in this region, accordingly, can be expected to be not only social revolutions aimed at improving the conditions of life of the poorest sectors of society, but also nationalist revolutions aimed at securing freedom of action for the national community in place of subordination to the requirements of the world economy, multinational corporations, and the hegemonic power in the region, now the United States. When such a revolution occurs, moreover, the United States usually "takes it personally," and, instead of trying to work out a new modus vivendi with a revolutionary government intent on asserting national freedom of action, instead typically chooses to regard any such revolutionary movement as inherently hostile to the United States and thus perforce in league with its big-power rival of the moment in the world political game.

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The Problem of Democracy in Latin America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Problem of Democracy in Latin America *
  • Contents *
  • Figure and Tables *
  • Preface *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • 1: Premises and Preconceptions *
  • 2: The Latin American Tradition *
  • 3: Change and Development *
  • 4: The Hegemonic Factor *
  • 5: The State *
  • 6: Revolutionary Regimes and the Case of Mexico *
  • 7: The Politics of Coffee *
  • 8: External Dependence *
  • 9: Regionalism in Plural Societies *
  • 10: Echoes of Europe *
  • 11: The Colossus of the South *
  • 12: Conclusion *
  • Notes *
  • Bibliography *
  • Index *
  • About the Author *
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