Dados vol. 30 n. 3 Rio de Janeiro 1987

Desenvolvimento Econômico e Democracia na América Latina

Soares, Gláucio A. Dillon


This article analyzes the relationship between economic development and political democracy. It submits data used by four authors - Bollen, Coulter, Lipset and Vanhanen - to retrospective analysis, separating the Latin American nations from the industrialized ones. It establishes that, while the relations between development and democracy are close-knit in the central countries, they are tenuous in the Latin American ones. It argues that, whereas several Latin American countries have reached the degree of development at which democracy prevailed in the industrial nations, the same has not occurred in Latin America. It maintains that the most significant political actors are historical ones, continually changing; and that they are not the same in present-day Latin America and the central countries. The connection between the interests of these new political actors, e.g. the military, and the combined indicators of economic and social development are unclear, and it is unwarranted to assume that the tie is the same one that characterizes, and characterized, the political actors from the central countries. It attributes these difficulties to errors in mensuration, deriving in particular from the ethnocentrism of the analysts located in the central countries. It verifies that, whereas the economic indicators are reliable, the political ones are highly ethnocentric and do not discriminate, especially between the socialist countries. The article concludes that the explanation of democracy in Latin America must be made on the basis of political ideas and actors specific to the region.

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Desenvolvimento Econômico e Democracia na América Latina