By John A. Peeler

Utilizing the situations of Columbia, Costa Rica, and Venezuela, Peeler compares the evolution and upkeep of liberal democratic regimes within the Latin American context. those regimes are proven to be items of the conventional Latin American political procedures, less than specific stipulations that experience approved lodging among rival political and financial elites. the writer argues that those liberal democracies are essentially just like these in different elements of the world.

Originally released in 1985.

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Pluralism presupposes that the real action in politics is between elites, and most behavioral research on elites either also assumes that or seeks to demonstrate it. The Evolution of Liberal Democracy: Some Key Studies Several systematic attempts have been made to understand how the twentieth-century liberal democracies differ in their historical roots from less democratic systems. By far the most important such study is Barrington Moore's Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. Moore seeks to explain how changes in social structure over long periods of time have led, in diverse societies, to democracy, fascism, and communism.

This is typical of studies of this kind. The utility of the index depends on the willingness of readers to accept the judgments of the author and his sources. Further, even if these judgments are accepted, one must be careful not to generalize beyond the particular time span covered by the study (in this case, around 1960 and around 1965). This sort of study is thus of very little use in assessing the stability of a regime. This is an important shortcoming in Latin America, where, as we have previously noted, many countries have episodes of something resembling liberal democracy, but few maintain them for more than a few years at a time.

Directly political characteristics are more useful in explaining the emergence of liberal democracy: the three governments under study all underwent a predemocratic period of civil elite competition and controlled expansion of political participation, which included conscious and explicit accommodation between rival elites. Still, the dominant message of this chapter has to be that there is no single road to liberal democracy in Latin America (compare the recent study by Wesson, 1982,). 1 The area of present-day Colombia entered the nineteenth century with several centers of modest economic prosperity in mining, textiles, and agriculture, which produced both for export and for internal consumption.

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