- Capitalism and Alternatives -

A gift easily accepted.

Posted by: Dr. Cruel on November 05, 1999 at 16:04:15:

In Reply to: Costa Rica, for Dr. Cruel... posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on November 04, 1999 at 19:03:29:

It would seem that we agree to disagree on Nicaragua, et. al.

In regards to Costa Rica - I must admit a weakness in my knowledge of the place, in regards to Mr. Figueres. I had heard that an important figure had abolished the national army, and enjoyed a high popularity for it; he also had stepped down from office in the process. He and Mr. Figueres are likely one and the same. In any case, he was by your own admission a planter, and thus, a capitalist.

This is what the C.I.A. has to say:

Economy—overview: Costa Rica's basically stable economy depends on tourism, agriculture, and electronics exports. Poverty has been substantially reduced over the past 15 years and a strong social safety net has been put into place. Economic growth has rebounded from -0.9% in 1996 to 3% in 1997 and an estimated 5.5% in 1998. Inflation rose to 22.5% in 1995, dropped to 11.1% in 1997, and reached an estimated 12% in 1998. Unemployment appears moderate at 5.6%, but substantial underemployment continues. Furthermore, large government deficits—fueled by interest payments on the massive internal debt—have undermined efforts to maintain the quality of social services. Curbing inflation, reducing the deficit, and improving public sector efficiency remain key challenges to the government. President RODRIGUEZ has called for an increased economic role for the private sector, but political resistance to privatization has stalled much of his economic program.

By European standards, the economy is similar to that of Sweden - an overzealous state control over the economy, coupled with large expendiatures on social programs, have stagnated the Costa Rican economy until recently. By Central American standards, of course, the place is a paradise - or, rather, as close to a paradise as one is likely to see in these parts anytime soon. Whatever it is, most people who do business in the region feel perfectly safe in storing their money there. Most of them are capitalists.

If this is your idea of 'socialism in action', I'm all for it. Were socialism to live side by side with capitalism, were a concern for the freedom to own and trade be leavened with a concern for the welfare of the whole community, there would be little need for debate. It is my impression that the U.S. has done the best in achieving this sort of balance. If I thought that this was the sort of thing that gentlemen like Fidel and Danny were after, you'd have no argument from me. It's the nepotism, and the violence, and the lies, and all the other unacknowledged crimes of the 'revolutionary struggle' that make you so many enemies.

Perhaps both of us might learn something from Mr. Figueres. Perhaps?

"Doc" Cruel

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