Legrand, catherine. “el conflicto de las bananeras” reseña

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Culture Matters
By Oscar Arias January/February 2011

The Real Obstacles to Latin American Development
Nearly two centuries after the countries of Latin America gained their independence from Spain and Portugal, not one of them is truly developed. Where have they gone wrong? Why have countries in other regions, once far behind, managed to achieve relatively quickly results that Latin American countries have aspired to for so long? Many in the region respond to such questions with conspiracy theories or self-pitying excuses. They blame the Spanish empire, for making off with the region's riches in the past, or the American empire, which supposedly continues to bleed it dry today. They say that international financial institutions have
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But too often in Latin America, leaders justify themselves with a simple "because I say so." This dovetails neatly with the desire to protect established privileges -- a phenomenon visible not only among the rich and powerful but throughout society. Teachers' unions decide for themselves how much teachers should work and what they should teach. Something similar happens with business owners and contractors in the private sector, who have provided low-quality services for decades with no fear of competition, thanks to sinecures and illicit transactions. And public officials are also immobile: the civil services reward those who do no more than sit at their desks and say no. This attitude has many consequences, particularly when it comes to entrepreneurship. Latin America has vastly more controllers than entrepreneurs. The region is suspicious of new ideas and lacks effective mechanisms to support innovative projects. Someone seeking to start a new business must begin by wading through waves of bureaucracy and arbitrary requirements. Entrepreneurs get minimal praise or cultural reinforcement, little legal protection, and scarce academic support. The region's universities, meanwhile, are not turning out the kinds of professionals that development demands. Latin America graduates six professionals in the social sciences for every two in engineering and every one

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