Non-Fiction Books:

Spanish and Latin American Transitions to Democracy



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Spanish and Latin American Transitions to Democracy
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This volume, now available in paperback, compares the Spanish and Latin American 'double transitions' to liberal democracy and an open-market economy. Spains transitions in the 1960s to 1980s have become the paradigmatic case of successful institutional transformation, and thus the standard for the evaluation of the economic and political change in Latin America and Central/Eastern Europe in the 1980s and 1990s. Even though most Latin American countries have transformed their economies and polities in recent decades, and the outcomes of this transformation have been variable, few of these countries have so far established solid liberal democracies and dynamic open economies. The essays in this book, written by distinguished specialists, examine the different trajectories in Spain and several nations in Latin America, and seek to explain the different outcomes. In the large recent literature on transitions, this is the first systematic comparison between Spain and the Latin American cases. Taken together, these papers make a powerful argument in favor of the thesis that the outcomes of these transitions are largely determined by the solidity of institutions, governmental ones in particular. Sustained economic growth requires not only economic liberalization (privatization, de-regulation, and the opening-up of closed economies) but also the rule of law, protection of property rights, effective control of markets in order to preserve competition, solid health and educational systems, and an adequate safety net. These conditions are necessary for a high-quality democracy. Without them, free and fair elections and the toleration of dissent are likely to become the facade of what scholars have termed: pseudo-democracy; illiberal democracy; or competitive authoritarianism.

Author Biography

Carlos H Waisman is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of a large number of articles and books and book chapters. Raanan Rein is Professor of Spanish and Latin American History and the Director of the Institute for Latin American History and Culture at Tel Aviv University. He is the author of numerous books and articles in various languages. He is also editor of the journal Estudios Interdisciplinarios de America Latina y el Caribe.
Release date NZ
January 26th, 2006
Edited by Carlos H. Waisman Edited by Raanan Rein
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Sussex Academic Press
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