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Theoretical Perspectives on Latin America and the Caribbean


Curtis Wilgus describes the Caribbean as a land of many contrasts as well as ... Given government by regulation, Anglo Caribbean societies will not succeed in ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Theoretical Perspectives on Latin America and the Caribbean

Theoretical Perspectives on Latin America and the
  • Social Science and Development Theory

Modern Industrial Society
  • Doctrine produced anxiety because one could not
    know beforehand who was among the elect
  • To reduce anxiety and assure themselves that they
    would be among the elect, Calvinists behaved as
    if they had been called

Modern Industrial Society
  • Result
  • a systematic ordering of daily life, including
    their economic pursuits, to preclude any idleness
    or frivolity
  • anxiety-produced drive to show earthly signs of
    Gods favor led to rapid economic advance and
    capital accumulation
  • According to Weber, combined with more
    rationalizations in other spheres of society to
    form the catalyst for development of modern
    industrial society

Max Weber
  • Capitalism existed in various forms at all epochs
    of human society
  • Defined by an orientation towards economic
    activity, characterized by the rational
    (systematic and calculable) pursuit of economic
    gain by purely economic means

  • A distinct form of society coming into existence
    only with the bourgeois revolution of the 17th
    and 18th centuries.
  • The absence of true community among men in
    industrial society
  • Alienation stemming from the division of society
    into two hostile and antagonistic classes.
  • Workers dispossessed of the means of production

  • Worker transformed into a wage laborer
  • A seller of the commodity of labor power
  • Experiences alienation from himself and society
  • Root cause of alienation was capitalismclass
    societycharacterized by its tendency to
    transform everything into a commodity

  • Both Marx and Weber were deeply impressed with
    the productive potential of capitalism
  • Marx believed that the inherent growth dynamic
    of capitalism would create the conditions for its
    own demise
  • Believed the fundamental aim of capitalist
    development was its imperative need to accumulate

  • In order to counteract the tendency of the rate
    of profit to fall in the long run, the ratio of
    capital to wages had continually to be increased
    via business cycles
  • The long-term trend was the massification of
    industrial establishments, the homogenization of
    the workforce, and its increasing impoverishment

  • These conditions would produce a constant class
    struggle between the workers and their employers.
  • Over time, the working class would come to
    realize that their only escape would be to
    overthrow the existing society by seizing hold of
    the state apparatus, abolishing private property,
    and beginning to form a new social order

Marxist Theory
  • Marx further believed that this polarization
    would culminate in a final class struggle in
    which the proletariat would be victorious and
    capitalism destroyed.
  • The victorious proletariat would then proceed to
    construct socialism and communism, which Marx
    viewed as the final/highest stage of societys

Marxist Theory
  • The tendency of capital to concentrate in
    ever-fewer hands, thereby polarizing society into
    two hostile classesthe propertied or bourgeoisie
    class and the propertyless working class or

Marxist Theory
  • The expropriation of labors surplus value by
    the bourgeoisie to form the accumulated capital
    necessary to drive the system
  • The alienation of the worker from the product of
    his work

Marxist Theory
  • A ruling class
  • The bourgeoisie or capitalists who owned the
    means of production
  • A production system based on the exploitation of

Social Science and Development
  • Except for Latin America, independent since early
    19th C, no great social science interest in Third
    World societies until 1950s-1960s

W.W. Rostow
  • Using the British industrial revolution as a
    model, Rostow sees a 5-stage transition from
    traditional to modern society
  • All societies pass through a single, unique
    sequence of stages
  • Contends that societies need to increase the rate
    of capital investment in society to the point
    where growth becomes automatic

W.W. Rostow
  • Need to stimulate appearance of an
    entrepreneurial elite to lead this development
  • Single most pervasive theme in the development
    literature is the emphasis on entrepreneurship
    and capital accumulation

Common View
  • Third world societies were feudal and
    capitalist or semi-feudal and
  • Modern sector and traditional sector

  • A series of mechanisms exist in society where the
    modern sector exploits the traditional sector,
    thereby generating its underdevelopment.
  • Andre Gunder Frank

  • That all societies of the underdeveloped world
    could be described as feudal
  • Some bear resemblance to European feudalism most
    are quite dissimilar
  • All societies progress inevitably through a
    single, fixed evolutionary scheme
  • The process of change is endogenous
  • Assumes closed societies
  • LAC have never been closed part of
    international capitalism

ECLAC Perspective
  • Raúl PrebischArgentine economistfor UN ECLAC
  • LA had developed as an integral part of the
    expanding world economy
  • An immediate and direct link between changes in
    the industrialized countries of the center and
    the underdeveloped countries in the periphery

ECLAC Perspective
  • Late 18th-mid-19th C period of development
    oriented towards the outside
  • LA played role of supplier of raw materials and
    foodstuffs for the industrial North and received
    imported, manufactured products
  • Division of labor between North and South
    following contours of natural advantage, worked
    to the benefit of both partners

ECLAC Perspective
  • Theory of Unequal Exchange
  • ECLA argued that factor markets were imperfect
    system of international trade operated against
    interests of LA countries
  • That the terms of trade had been moving against
    LA since about 1870
  • Gains from productivity increases were unequally
    distributed between center and periphery
  • Productivity increases at the center matched by
    increases in wages due to union pressure
  • Manufacturers raised prices of goods sold in
    periphery but wages in periphery did not rise to

ECLAC Perspective
  • Realistically
  • LA should adopt an import-substitution
    industrialization policy
  • Turn away from policy of development for towards
    the outside and towards the inside
  • Protectionism
  • Tariffs to protect the domestic industries
  • Careful manipulation of exchange rates
  • Measures to expand internal markets

ECLAC Perspective
  • Politically Radical Change
  • Alliance of nearly all social classes against the
    landed oligarchy responsible for lack of economic
  • Peasantry needed to be free from oppressive and
    inefficient latifundio system
  • Would lead to increase in domestic production
  • Government intervention in the economy to create
    new enterprises
  • Industrial bourgeoisie would take over state
    power from the oligarchy

ECLAC Perspective
  • Industrial working class would benefit from
    increased employment
  • Policy of maximizing consumer demand by
    redistributing income would ensure that they
    would benefit in real terms from economic growth

ECLAC Perspective
  • US adopted ECLACs policy proposals
  • Cuban Revolution
  • Kennedy Administration glaring inequalities would
    spark revolution on the continent
  • LA might become a war zone

ECLAC Perspective
  • US felt that some reforms were necessary to head
    off imminent revolution
  • Simultaneously, US began intensive program of
    reorganizing armies in LA so that they could deal
    effectively with guerrilla threats so that
    Vietnams did not erupt

ECLAC Perspective
  • Import Substitution did not lessen need for
  • Type changed from consumer goods to manufactured
  • Reforms were not as thoroughgoing in LA as they
    had been in Cuba
  • Many compromises made with the oligarchy

ECLAC Perspective
  • US-based manufacturing companies simply set up
    subsidiaries in LA
  • Location in La did not mean LA ownership

ECLAC Perspective
  • Import substitution failed because…
  • Rigid import requirements
  • Technology available to underdeveloped countries
    came from developed countries
  • Labor in developed countries was expensive while
    capital was cheap opposite true in
    underdeveloped countries
  • Technologies required massive outlays of capital
    but employed few people

ECLAC Perspective
  • The operations were much larger than required for
    the market size
  • This meant that plants would not be run at full
    capacitywaste of resources
  • Solutioncommon market and regional planning
  • Since populations were poor, bulk of demand for
    manufactured goods would come from small number
    of wealthy people

Caribbean Perspectives
  • Long exposure to the global community via their
    histories of European conquest, colonialism,
    slavery, indentureship, and dependent capitalism
    have made them among the most culturally flexible
    people in the world.
  • Curtis Wilgus describes the Caribbean as a land
    of many contrasts as well as innumerable

Caribbean Perspectives
  • Ever since Columbus mistakenly believed he had
    discovered a sea new route to India there have
    been vexatious confusion over its geographical
    and cultural definition
  • Noted both for its myth of richness and richness
    of myth
  • Walter Raleighs El Dorado
  • Ponce de Leóns Fountain of Youth
  • Daniel Defoes legendary Robinson Crusoe
  • The dreaded Bermuda Triangle

Caribbean Perspectives
  • Some Caribbean images include
  • Sun-drenched beaches
  • Tourist paradises
  • Happy natives dancing to rhythmic music
  • Exotic flora and fauna

Caribbean Perspectives
  • A place where hurricanes and tropical storms
    constantly menace life
  • A place where multitudes of poor black people
    are daily shaking of their colonial shackles
  • A place where whites are not safe in small

Caribbean Perspectives
  • Can be viewed as a whole
  • with great cultural continuity
  • racial similarity and
  • political stability
  • OR each country could be seen as individually
    harboring distinct blends of African, East
    Indian, European and indigenous cultures, racial
    and ethnic strife, national and linguistic
    peculiarities, and little consensus

Caribbean Perspectives
  • Regardless of perspective/image---
  • The region has produced many world leaders in
    many diverse fields and areas
  • INTELLECTUALLYNobel Prize winners in economics,
    literature (and poetry)
  • CULTURALLYinternationally acclaimed figures in
    the entertainment industry as well as world
    renowned athletes
  • POLITICALLYthe region has produced leaders with
    statesmanship abilities on par with the very best
    in the world

Caribbean Schools of Thought
  • Conflict-pluralist
  • Charismatic (hero-in-history)
  • Dependency
  • Authority
  • Race and Class
  • Patron-Clientelist

Caribbean Perspectives
  • Flamboyant, effervescent and engaging sangmêlée
    set of people
  • Calm self-assurance, void of either subservience
    or arrogance along with a breezy
  • A widely traveled people a highly
    sophisticated political people
  • Thoroughly modern, very cosmopolitan, and very
    well educated.
  • Gordon Lewis

Caribbean Schools of Thought
  • Most studies argue that pluralism makes
    macro-level studies of the Caribbean

M.G. Smith Conflict-Pluralist Theory
  • Anglophone Caribbean societies, like African and
    Asian societies, are culturally divided
  • Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago cited as examples
    of conflict-pluralist societies

M.G. Smith Conflict-Pluralist Theory
  • Each cultural section has its own
  • --- relatively exclusive way of life
  • --- distinctive systems, ideas, values, and
    social relations
  • Political stability is maintained by regulation
    rather than by consensus
  • Given government by regulation, Anglo Caribbean
    societies will not succeed in their attempts at

M.G. Smith Conflict-Pluralist Theory
  • Smiths model stratifies society along elite,
    folk, and ethnic group lines
  • Argues that the absence of a common ideology,
    reciprocal relationships and presence of
    different cultural traits militate against social
  • Model does not provide both necessary and
    sufficient conditions for political instability

Arend Lijphart Conflict-Pluralist Model
  • Westminster system incompatible with small size
    and pluralism
  • Views societies as sharply divided along
    religious, ideological, linguistic, cultural,
    ethnic or racial lines into virtually separate
    sub-societies each with their own political
    parties, interest groups and media of

Arend Lijphart Conflict-Pluralist Model
  • Argues for a consensus model in which executive
    power is shared by all major parties in the
  • Provides checks and balances on countries lacking
    strong democratic traditions and informal
    restraints on government power

Arend Lijphart Conflict-Pluralist Model
  • Except MBPM, no ideology-based parties
  • No religion-based parties
  • Politically relevant groups are not divided on
    basis of language
  • Although politically relevant groups often tend
    to vote race, parties are multiracial
  • Centripetal forces stronger than centripetal ones

Charismatic Leadership Hero
  • Charisma is difficult to define
  • Most people are prepared to attest to its
  • For Max Weber, Charismatic Authority stems more
    from the emotional and irrational aspects of the
    human make-up

Charismatic Leadership Hero
  • Unlike traditional and rational-legal authority,
    charismatic authority knows no formal rules and
    answers to no precedents.
  • This makes it unstable and unpredictable, while
    rendering its holders dangerous or revolutionary
  • Any leader who is able to move the masses on the
    basis of emotional appeal, who

Charismatic Leadership Hero
  • Charismatic leadersAre obeyed because their
    followers see it as their duty to obey them
  • A leaders charisma is a matter of complete
    personal devotion to the possessor of the
    quality, arising out of enthusiasm, or of despair
    and hope
  • Charismatic leadershipMoves the masses on the
    basis of emotional appeal
  • Does not require the legitimacy conferred by
  • Is not based on coercion or the instilling of
    fear among followers

Charismatic Leadership Hero
  • Leaders are called by a higher power and cannot
  • Followers are duty-bound to obey
  • Charisma disdains formal organizational rules and
  • Pure charisma is based neither on enacted or
    traditional order nor on acquired rights, but on
    legitimacy through heroism and revelation

Charismatic Leadership Hero
  • A certain quality of an individual personality by
    virtue of which he is considered extraordinary
    and treated as endowed with supernatural,
    superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional
    powers or qualities. These are…not accessible to
    the ordinary person, but are regarded as of
    divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis
    of them the individual concerned is treated as
    leader.Max Weber

Charismatic Leadership Hero
  • Errol BarrowBarbados
  • Eric Gairy--Grenada
  • Maurice BishopGrenada
  • Linden Forbes BurnhamGuyana
  • Cheddi JaganGuyana
  • Eric Eustace WilliamsTrinidad Tobago
  • Fidel CastroCuba
  • Robert L. BradshawSt. Kitts Nevis
  • Vere C. BirdAntigua and Barbuda

Plantation Economy Theorists
  • Lloyd Best George Beckford
  • Cultural differentiation notwithstanding, all
    social groups affected by the plantation systems
    unification and acculturation forces
  • Systems rigid structure destroyed or modified
    cultural institutions and orientations of the
    various indigenous and transplanted peoples.

Plantation Economy Theorists
  • Societies reflect creolized adaptation of
    African, Asian and indegenous cultures to British
    norms, symbols, values and institutions

Eastern Caribbean Model
  • Donald C. Peters---
  • Small size
  • Function much like Greek city-statessmall enough
    for everyone to know one another and participate
    in the political process

Eastern Caribbean Model
  • Educated by the British
  • Constitutions developed by the British
  • Values governed and shaped by the British
  • But these characteristics apply to the larger
    countries like Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana as well

Elite Culture Robert Dahl
  • Rules, practices and culture of competition
    develop first among a small elite

Elite Culture Robert Dahl
  • Early survey
  • Democrats22--democracy suitable voters
  • Cynical parliamentarians28--favored
    parliamentary system voter incompetent
  • Authoritarian Idealists6--reservations about
    democratic system voter competent
  • Authoritarians50--parliamentary system
    unsuitable voter incompetent

Strategic Rationality Theory
  • Culture, Structure and Human Agency