What’s the Matter with South America?
The social and economic performance in South America continues to presence of some powerful values inimical to individual success and innovative pursuits has given rise to corporatism, lag behind most of the world. What accounts for the widespread governance failures in South America? At bottom, the problems in South America lie in the institutions and the values that led to those institutions.
There has been a rise throughout the continent of the social and economic system known as corporatism. The system operates to prevent political and economic competition in the name of social harmony and national unity. A result is an economy in which the business sector is enmeshed with the public sector and tied down by state restrictions. Yet, there is more to be said.
The institutions and practices there derive from the presence of some powerful values inimical to individual success and innovative pursuits. In the near-absence of the modernist values that sparked massive, grassroots innovation in Britain, America, Germany, France, and Sweden from the mid-nineteenth into the twentieth century, South Americans have remained wedded to a loosely defined traditionalism. A result is a continent in which only a minority of people are oriented toward engaging careers of creating or venturing and thus flourishing.
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More About This Work
Originally published as an op-ed in Project Syndicate on July 17, 2020.