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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Howard Petith, 2007. "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," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 684.07, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  • Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:684.07
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A., 2000. "Democratization or repression?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 683-693, May.
    3. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Das Human Kapital," Working Papers 2000-17, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    4. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2001. "A Theory of Political Transitions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 938-963, September.
    5. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, and Growth in Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199.
    6. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marxism; Democracy; Europe; Latin America;

    JEL classification:

    • E11 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Marxian; Sraffian; Kaleckian
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • N46 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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