Economies of the world (part 3) - Latin American models

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Economy of South America

South America is a very specific region of the world. It is characterized by extreme instability - despite the close proximity of the exceptionally solid United States. Interestingly, the influence of the US was often a destabilizing factor in this case. Successive rule by the mighty northern neighbor led to junts (military coups) that overthrew left-wing governments. Such a policy resulted directly from two American signposts in diplomacy: the Monroe doctrine and the doctrine of containment. The first concept dates back to the early nineteenth century and assumes that Central and South America are Washington's sphere of influence. The second concerns the attitude towards the actions of the USSR during the Cold War - it is about preventing the spill of Soviet influence on other countries of the world.

In the years 2003-2007 South America recorded sensational GDP growth at an average level of 5.6% - it was the best economic period since the turn of the 1960s and 1970s. Then came the crisis which, interestingly, did not affect Latin American countries as much as rest of the world. Analysts say it was because of the sustained high prices of raw materials - and countries such as Brazil and Argentina profit from their exports. It is worth noting that recently in this region GDP growth has been going hand in hand with positive social changes. Latin American societies raised representatives of the left to the highest positions - and it worked. The neoliberal recipes promoted by the United States, which had failed, were abandoned. It turned out that the role of the state in the economy and social changes cannot be overestimated and cannot be abandoned.

Brazil - Latin American top student

It is worth citing the example of Brazil, where until 2011 two terms of office were ruled by the society's beloved left-wing activist and union politician Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. During his time, this great country became the eighth economy in the world, and millions of people emerged from dire poverty. Let's take a look at the synthetic indicators: in the HDI ranking, which shows the level of the country's development, Brazil in 2000 obtained a result of 0.669, after the end of its term of office it managed to reach 0.728 (for comparison: Poland in 2013: 0.821). Social stratification has decreased significantly, but is still high - the Gini index in 2012 was 51.9, while in 2000 it was 55.3 (here, the lower the result, the better). According to the world bank, the proportion of people living in poverty has fallen from 21% of the population in 2003 to 11% in 2009 - and it continues to decline. The data on GDP per capita are even more surprising - from just over $ 3,000 in 2002 to $ 11.63,000 and eleven years later. Brazil began to count in the world, as evidenced by the fact that Rio de Janeiro was awarded the organization of the 2016 Olympic Games.

During Lula's reign, the state was heavily involved in social change. Brazil's main problem was the terrible poverty of three-quarters of its inhabitants. The help of the authorities did not end only with direct financial support for those living in poverty. Many programs have been implemented, thanks to which, among others water cisterns were built in places permanently threatened by drought, subsidized bars were created, the population was educated about healthy eating, dietary supplements and vitamins were distributed and cheap loans were granted. The actions under the Fome Zero program, or Zero Hunger, had the greatest momentum.

Uruguay - a left-wing model

Another left-wing phenomenon in South America is Uruguayan president Jose Mujica, who in his youth was a member of the radical Tupamaros guerrilla who was inspired by Cuban revolutionary fighters. He spent several years in an isolated prison without books and newspapers, where he almost went mad. In 2010, he was elected president after Vazquez, who contributed to positive changes in the country. Mujica donates most of her salary to charity. He lives on a small farm near the capital. He cultivates the field and raises animals. He says that in this way he does not distract himself from the problems of ordinary people. He drives a thirty-year-old hunchback. It is an example of how with age the revolutionary enthusiasm of youth turns into leftist pragmatism - still full of ideals, but already subdued by the awareness of limitations and unattainable things. An example of Mujica's real policy is the legalization of marijuana - the fight against drug gangs has failed, so the president decided it would be better to try to get lovers of the popular herb out of the gray economy. A manifestation of pragmatism is also the opening of Uruguay to foreign investments, which has been paid for with many concessions to big business - it can be seen in the high (for South America) places in the ranking of economic freedom. The effectiveness of rejecting neoliberal prescriptions is clearly visible when looking at the dynamic GDP growth - e.g. in 2011 it was 7.5%! Positive changes also occur in terms of GDP per capita, as in Brazil. In 2014, according to forecasts, it will amount to almost USD 17.5 thousand, so it will soon overtake Poland, which can boast a result of USD 21.2 thousand. Uruguay can boast of a relatively low income inequality ratio. Only Argentina and Venezuela are lower (slightly).

Feminization and liberation theology

It is interesting to feminize the high offices in these countries - this is undoubtedly a left-wing achievement. Since 2011, the president of Brazil has been Dilma Rousseff, previously the minister of energy and the chief of staff of President Lula da Silva, who, moreover, resigned from running for her for the next terms. Argentina is ruled by Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who took the presidency after her husband, Nestor Kirchner. After last year's conclave, the world learned that it had long been in conflict with the newly elected Pope Francis, who had been Archbishop of Buenos Aires before his election to the Chair of Peter. The axis of the dispute is the attitude to abortion, which is condemned by the clergyman and allowed by the left-wing, pro-female president. In Chile, the second term - after a five-year break, because the country's constitution prohibits successive governments - is held by Michelle Bachelet.

Another characteristic of Latin America is liberation theology. This is a trend in the Catholic Church that tries to combine leftist postulates with religious doctrine. It highlights what actually seems obvious: Christ's role as deliverer, as someone who brings justice. It is difficult to understand why official Catholic representatives, including John Paul II himself, condemned and condemned this theology. After all, seeing Jesus as a subversive, revolutionary, and friend of the poor is not a terrible departure from what you read in the New Testament. It therefore seems that the lack of support for the Christian left is associated with the same anti-leftist phobia as in the case of American support for right-wing military coups in the region.

Latin American economies - summary

The countries of South America have clearly veered to the left - left-wing politicians are in charge of power and have rejected US-imposed neoliberal methods of action. Politicians pragmatically abandoning the ideas of revolution (well, maybe except for Chavez and his successor) in favor of arduous grassroots work. These are people who know that a free market and lack of state interference will not pull millions out of deep poverty. At the same time, they remember that communist experiments usually result in totalitarianism. South American countries remember the dictatorship's nightmare - and some are still living it, like Venezuelans under President Maduro's boot. The region's economies surprise many with their steady growth, diminishing inequalities and crisis resilience - keep it up.