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Direitos Humanos / 30/04/2021


Latin America was created by a small group of elites to exploit most people ’, says economist

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Latin America was created by a small group of elites to exploit most people ’, says economist

Daron Acemoğlu, the renowned MIT, analyzes the state of democracies in the countries of the region and explains the origin of these unequal societies comes .

In the book Why Nations Fail, two renowned contemporary economists analyzed the reasons that lead some countries to get rich and others to remain in poverty.

Is there a recipe for getting out of underdevelopment?

Daron Acemoğlu, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and James A. Robinson, a professor at Harvard University, tried to answer this question by moving away the widespread thesis that points to cultural, geographic or educational factors as the origin of difference between rich and poor.

After analyzing large statistical and historical databases, the book proposed that the cause of the differences in citizens' well-being started earlier.

The gap started in the formation of institutions, which in each country happened at a different time and determined the path of development for each society.

Several Nobel Prize winners in Economics have seen in this book a new approach to an old problem: inequality.

Now, in their new work The Narrow Corridor, the authors turn to data and history to answer why some countries manage to win freedom and democracy, while others live (or fall) ) in tyrannies or autocracies.

But why is freedom so fragile?

Because the corridor leading to it is very narrow, and for citizens a strong state is just as dangerous as a weak state, says Daron Acemoğlu.

"The state is a very important part of resolving conflicts, providing public services or helping the disadvantaged. But we have to keep the state and its elites under control. And that is part of the challenge," he says.

"Life under the yoke of the state can also be unpleasant, brutal and short," says the book.

There is a conflict. This character belonged to the heart of the elite and his project was driven by the elite. But I think he also realized how difficult it would be to erase the history of colonialism, extractive institutions and elites who would oppose Latin America's economic and political development. He realized that independence alone would not be enough. And in fact, this is the story of Latin America.

Of course, independence was an important step, but things haven't changed much. In some places, it got even worse when it was the local elites who became the new lords of exploitation. This situation has lasted for two centuries. Not in a statist and immutable way. It is not that the same people who govern Mexico today resemble those who governed in 1820. New companies were formed and new leaders emerged, but the political system remained largely extractive and corrupt.

Latin America is uneven because of its history. It is a society created by a small group of colonial elites to exploit the vast majority of people. We must fight against this historical legacy to build equality, to build justice, to build freedom. It was not an easy journey any in the world. But it was especially difficult in Latin America.

So I don't find it surprising that Costa Rica is the most successful country in consolidating democracy and laying the foundations for freedom. It was one of the countries that suffered the least the consequences of the elites that subjugated the indigenous populations and then repressed them. Indeed, the country has not gone through the same experiences as Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala and all of Central America did. This story is important.

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