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Revista Interamericana de Bibliografía (RIB)
Número: 1-4
Título: 1997
Sección: Reseñas Informativas / Informative Reviews

Ernest BARTELL and Leigh A. PAYNE, eds. Business and Democracy in Latin America. Pittsburgh, Pa: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995. 292p., tables, notes.

Business and Democracy in Latin America is the first published research on the current business environment in Latin America. This volume came about as a result of a workshop on “Business Elites and Democracy in Latin America” sponsored by the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies of the University of Notre Dame.

This volume consists of an introduction and conclusion written by the editors and a series of case studies on six Latin American countries written by scholars who have been involved in recent research on business elites. The introduction provides an overview of how Latin American business leaders have been traditionally characterized by social scientists; that is, politically and economically weak and dependent on a strong authoritarian state to defend their interests.

The case studies on Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru are based on several years of empirical research conducted in each country. They examine the recent business support for democracy, the likelihood that the demands of business leaders will be met by democratic systems, and how much democracy business leaders are willing to tolerate.

In the conclusion, the editors argue that the political and economic changes that have swept the region in recent years have strengthened the power of the Latin American business class. The liberalization of economic policies has transformed the business sector into the main engine of economic growth, while the transition towards democracy has provided business leaders more opportunities to achieve their goals. They argue that the greater political-economic power enjoyed by the Latin American business sector will increase political stability in the region. They also provide guidelines for channeling this political-economic power towards democratic stabilization.

This volume will be of particular interest to students and scholars of political economy and Latin America. Business leaders with activities in the region may also find this analysis of their role very interesting.

Ernest Bartell is the Executive Director of the Kellogg Institute and Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame. Leigh A. Payne is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Many of the scholars who wrote the case studies have been Residential Fellows of the Kellogg Institute at different times.


1. Estas reseñas fueron preparadas por las sugientes funcionarias de la Secretaría Ejecutiva para el Desarrollo Integral/These reviews were prepared by the following staff members of the Exeuctive Secretariat for Integral Development: María del Carmen Barreneche, María de Icaza, María Teresa Mellenkamp, y Rosario Villanueva Popovici.