When I asked the contributors to this issue to write essays dealing with the future of Latin America, my objective was to provide them with a vehicle for the expression of unconventional ideas and interpretations. My impression has been that recent analyses of Latin America, whether the political outlook be from the right, the left or the middle, have hardened into stereotyped positions which no longer reflect reality.
In order to understand the future of Latin America, one must first understand the modernization process that has been occurring in Latin America for the past half century. Latin America shares some of the characteristics that are typically found in developing countries. But the milieu in which these characteristics have evolved is quite different in Latin America.
This essay will attempt to synthesize some of the relevant findings on class structure and politics and to speculate on the future prospects of some of the significant strata in Latin America. We will discuss primarily the political behavior of classes and segments within each class and the impact of inter- and intra-class relationships on political development.
The role of elites in fostering, restarting or merely implementing social and economic development has become a major concern of sociologists and other analysts of social change. Pareto’s contention that societies could be “graded” on a modernism scale according to the rapidity of circulation of their classes gave promise of a theory of development which might provide indices for objective measurement and provide functional hypotheses to explain the sources of stability and tension within a given society.
I see the United States as reformist and liberal in its hopes and expectations for Latin America. Although many earnest but ignorant, and a few knowledgeable but knavish people say otherwise, the United States does not have a foreign policy in regard to Latin America.
A good deal of postwar socioeconomic analysis of Latin America has been permeated by the same preconceptions that spawned Rostow’s Stages of Economic Growth. In the beginning is the “traditional” society--a loose receptacle for the mishmash of attitudes and behavior thought to be inimical to orderly economic and political change.
There is nothing that better reflects the state of Latin American societies and that better portrays the complexities of the Latin American personality than the fluidity of the party systems. To begin with, all Latin American political parties have been carbon copies of European parties, just as Latin American constitutions have been patchwork quilts of foreign constitutions far removed from individual national realities.
Review of book by Dean A. Worchester Jr. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1967. 243 pp.
Review of book by S. Lewis and T. G. Mathews. Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico: Institute of Caribbean Studies, 1967. 258 pp.
Review of book by Philip Mason. London: Oxford University Press, 1967. 311 pp.
Review of book by Seymour Martin Lipset and Richard Hofstadter.New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1968. 423 pp.
Review of book by Harold W. Pfautz. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967. 314 pp.
Review of book by Miklavz Prosenc. Bonn: H. Bouvier & Co. Verlag, 1967. 138 pp.
Review of book by P. Losche. Universitat Berlin: Colloquium Verlag Otto H. Hess, 1967. 306 pp.