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The Rise of Democracy in Europe and the Fight Against Mass Poverty in Latin America: The Implications for Marxist Thought of Some Recent Mainstream Papers

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  • Howard Petith

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    Abstract

    Recently a number of mainstream papers have treated the rise of democracy in 19th century Europe and its instability in Latin America in an eminently Marxist fashion. This paper sets out their implications for Marxist thought. With respect to Europe, Marx's emphasis on political action backed by the threat of violence is vindicated but his justification for socialism is not. With respect to Latin America, the unequal distribution of wealth is the cause of political instability that is, in turn, the root cause of mass poverty. In addition it is possible to explain some of the paradoxical characteristics of neo-liberalism and to make a weak argument for socialism in spite of its rejection in Europe.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 684.07.

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    Length: 26
    Date of creation: 20 Mar 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:684.07

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    Keywords: Marxism; Democracy; Europe; Latin America;

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    1. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 1998. "Why did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality and Growth in Historical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 1797, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Das Human Kapital," Working Papers 2000-17, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    3. Justman, Moshe & Gradstein, Mark, 1999. "The Industrial Revolution, Political Transition, and the Subsequent Decline in Inequality in 19th-Century Britain," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 109-127, April.
    4. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2006. "Das Human-Kapital: A Theory of the Demise of the Class Structure," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 85-117.
    5. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 1999. "Democratization or Repression?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2278, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2001. "A Theory of Political Transitions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 938-963, September.
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