>Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 09:21:03 EST
>Subject: SOC: The Challenge of "The Second World" (Was: Argentina economy)
>Working to understand and change the things that have caused this kind of
>static condition is just as or perhaps more important than working to
>introduce new technologies into such societies and improving the basic
>conditions of material life. What is it that societies as disparate as
>we find in Colombia, Nigeria and Burma have in common that has held them
>from the benefits of real modernism? Why have attempts to aid development
>these countries proved so ineffective for so long? Looking at places where
>modernism has had a false start seems to me to be as important as studying
>those where it has been most successful.
I cannot but agree fully with this attitude. In fact, the main reason I
the list (lurking mostly, but having quite often a very interesting reading)
seeing if people here had any fresh ideas and approaches to this chronical
stagnation. As my previous lengthy message probably made it clear, in
like mine we have come to the point in which keeping the basic things going
is already a huge victory, and a fight that consumes all of your time and
energy. The prospects of social collapse are just there over the horizon,
takes all your efforts just to keep disaster at bay.
As for the causes of this stagnation in countries like mine, I'd like to
this list of (again, deriving from my personal and subjective experience)
most apperent causes:
- generalized corruption: I'm talking about the billions-of-dollars size
corruption here. Government officials receiving bribes, government
awarded to mediocre and unscrupled businessmen, budget funding being
towards "thank you" projects and black hole funds. Money laundry, drugs
weapon trafficking, and favoritism/selling of services have been the daily
way of our governments since I was born. Mafias are/were being run from
provincial government and federal department positions as a matter of fact
- incompetence: people in positions of decision/power simply lack the
ability and background to understand the problems we have. This is due to
plain ignorance, ideological blindness, or gross mismanagement ideas
rooted in a tradition of bureocracy.
- endemic violence: corruption and incompetence both foster violent answers
situations of conflict in an already much stressed social environment.
goes both for the lower-classes individual (many times forced to literally
steal for a living and food) to the mafias that prosper in association
the corrupt governments, to the ideologicized security/army forces (still
deeply stuck into the fascist killer-squad and anti-communist
camp mentalities). People trying to change things in a too loudy voice,
or denouncing the miserable spoiling of the governing mafias have quite
often found a grim end in a highway ditch, shot on the head by a police
officer on the pay roll of some politician or businessman.
- inefficient and malicious foreign influence: IMF policies have stagnated
our economical development for decades now, simply because their dogmatic
views on "efficient" administration are inadequate and purely short-term.
National debt interests are so high and demanding on the already weak
economy, governments can rarely do much but paying interests and doing
basic upkeep and wages. Given the corruption and the mafias, we tend to
attract dirty capitals, foreing monopolists, and simply criminal
all eager to keep the status quo and abort any changing efforts.
- cultural/educational failure: my previous mail went pretty much over this
subject. I will only add that governments and businessmen give a flying
cow about the population's culture and formation. Public libraries, local
folk culture, writers, musicians and philosophers are mainly ignored. When
actually supported, it is just for a quick buck and soon forgotten again.
Since most people lack the money to indulge in any kind of cultural
pursuit, ignorance and the most base entertainments are the only kind
of "cultural life" around for the big part of the population.
- ideological prejudice: there is a sad tendency to see all in terms of old
and very restrictive ideological categories. The traditional '60s "Third
World revolutionary discourse" is much present in labor unions, artists,
philosophers and segments of the middle social classes that resent all the
recent "liberalization" of the economy. On the other hand, the upper
seem stuck into right-wing, catholic, conservative, europhile/USAphile
attitudes, with a deep despisement of anything national, the conviction
that our common people are inherently flawed and irrecoverable, and a
faith in "liberalism", the markets, and the agro-exporting role for the
- lack of infrastructure: communications, transport and distribution systems
are old, ridiculously insufficient, and collapsing. The government can't
support them, the businessmen aren't interested in financing them unless
they get a monopoly on fares and tolls, and for the most part both workers
and small businessmen are just trying to survive on the agro-exporting
sector to try to do something about it by themselves. Technology is in the
hands of monopolistic businessmen, and its cost is usually too high for
the average person.
If someone can see deeper and hidden (to my perhaps lacking vision) patterns
and causes behind all this mess, I'd be much eager to read about it. Control
of information and its spreading to the population is something the ruling
elites in my country are very careful to keep to themselves, so we many
lack the most basic facts and perspectives about said general patterns.
only helps perpetuate the stagnation, of course...
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