The Roots of Poverty in Latin America


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About the Book

In the Americas, the Rio Grande has become not just a physical border, but an economic and social one as well. How can we explain the existence of two Americas—one prosperous, one poor—physically so close together, yet economically so far apart?
The Roots of Poverty is an in-depth analysis of how cultural, religious and social institutions have shaped the economic destinies of North America and Latin America over the last five hundred years. The British, who instituted constitutional limitations for the monarchy and protection of individual rights, wooed their colonists with promises of the same. The Iberian Peninsula, on the other hand, transplanted to its American colonies the traditions of insecure property rights, unpredictable taxation and governmental economic dominance. Even as independent nations, the countries of Latin America have found it difficult to move beyond the mindset established in their colonial days. Given this obstacle, what is the region’s potential for a better future? That topic is covered in this book’s final chapters, which look at recent developments in individual Latin American countries and considers the possibilities for an economic turnaround.

About the Author(s)

Guillermo M. Yeatts lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has written four books, two regarding property rights in industry and two focusing on the causes of Latin American underdevelopment.

Bibliographic Details

Guillermo M. Yeatts
Foreword by José Ignacio García Hamilton
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 185
Bibliographic Info: tables, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2235-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1198-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Foreword: The Scant but Valuable Tradition of Self-Examination by José Ignacio García Hamilton      1

1. Poverty to the South of the Rio Grande      7

2. Spain, Great Britain, and the Limits to Royal Power      18

3. Public Conquest, Private Colonization      35

4. Post-Independence Institutional Continuity in America      49

5. Rebirth and Decline of Interventionist Institutions (1930–1990)      71

6. The Rent-Seeking of the 1990s      87

7. The Counter Reforms of the New Century      104

8. Argentina: One Way Trip to Collapse      116

9. Toward a Competitive Federalism      129

10. Vested Interests Blocks Institutional Change      142

11. A Way Out for Latin America      152

Notes      167

Bibliography      173

Index      177