Latin America is one of the most troubled and interesting areas of the world. It has constantly been plagued by political, economic, and social hardships. For years outsiders have looked at Latin America and pondered why this region has not developed normally; in other words, like the more democratic, more prosperous countries of Western Europe and North America. Answers often come in the form of biased interpretations, contributing differences to factors such as ethnicity, temperament, and skin color1. However, the most widely accepted theory today for Latin America's very different development, the dependencia theory, is in reality an explanation for the issue that will be addressed in this paper. Argentina and Brazil are two nations that have had to deal with economic dependency, a problem that has affected political and social life as well. These countries both tried to combat this problem after World War II to varying degrees of success in the continuous struggle of Latin American states to hold their own in the global stage.
[...] To make matters worse, the Great Depression of the 1930s hit Latin America very hard because they were so totally dependent on other nations to buy their exports14. These economic problems spilled over to the rest of Argentinean and Brazilian society as well. People were constantly unhappy with the economic situation, so they were also unhappy with their political leaders, whom they blamed for the economic disparity. Furthermore, the great economic gap between the rich and the poor caused the poor to become angry and unsatisfied not only with their low economic standing but their ensuing low social status as well15. [...]
[...] The Spanish came seeking gold and proceeded to send all they could find out of Latin America and back to Europe4. This process expanded throughout the years and is known as mercantilism5. Sugar was the equivalent of gold for the Portuguese, incredibly valuable and important6. More and more natural resources and raw materials were exported from these nations and turned into manufactured goods sold in Europe without any recompense to the “daughter countries” within the empire7. Even after the revolutions of the19th century, when both nations gained their independence (Argentina through violence and fighting and Brazil more through a peaceful evolution away from monarchy), the same processes continued in a couple of different forms8. [...]
[...] All of the price shifting, tariff placing, and general market controlling by the government started to catch up after awhile; Latin America could not pretend forever that it had magically been made the equal of other nations29. Some major problems during the 1970s, after the very hopeful era of the 1950s and 1960s were very high inflation, balance of payments crises, and very slow export growth30. The problem with ISI became that all the protective tariffs also had financial repression as an additional factor. [...]
[...] Latin America and the Caribbean: A Systematic and Regional Survey. New York: John Wiley and Sons Stokes, pp Clawson, David L. Latin America and the Caribbean: Lands and Peoples. Dubuque, IA: William C. Brown Publishers pp Hopkins, Jack W. Latin America: Perspectives on a Region. New York: Holmes and Meier Publishers pp Skidmore, pp Clawson, pp Southgate, Douglas. “Import Substituting Industrialization.” http://aede.ag.ohio-state.Edu/class/IS240/AU01/Southgate/overheads_ handouts/import-substituting-industrialization, pp Southgate, pp Skidmore, pp Skidmore, pp Skidmore, pp Southgate, pp Clawson, pp Hopkins, pp Hopkins, pp Waterbury, John. [...]
[...] Brazil, on the other hand, tried multiple times to become independent and to get its economy jumpstarted again after an initial fall. Brazil, even though it ultimately failed, at least tried to get initiated into the economic reality of the rest of the world by trying out IMF policies. At the very least Argentina should look at Brazil's efforts, though not results, for a good indication of the course she should follow. Overall, there is still hope for the economies of Latin America, particularly if other nations are willing to help out their brothers and sisters in humanity. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee