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Latin America / ... Cannot Do Without Political and Civil Liberty

Anno XXXIII, n. 143, gennaio-febbraio 1998
Centro Einaudi


While allowing that the ground covered by liberty in Latin America in recent years has been remarkable, the author suggests that in stressing the need to enlarge the role of the market in the continent’s economies, liberalism has overlooked the importance of the institutional framework, an indispensable ingredient of the liberal philosophy itself. This bias has confused the necessary union of all liberties, prompting some liberals to express appreciation for otherwise very illiberal political regimes simply because they followed market-oriented economic policies. Today the situation has changed for the better from the political point of view, but democratic level of many Latin American countries is still unsatisfactory. Consequently, the message these over-enthusiastic liberals is conveying – namely, that governments should not be subject to too many "checks and balances", especially if they are performing well economically – is still highly illiberal.