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The Americas: Economies grow, democracies shrink. What does corruption have to do with it?
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For the Americas, 2012 was largely a positive year in many ways. As important economic and social indicators show an improvement, there is a sense of optimism throughout the region, especially in Latin America. While the United States’ presidential campaign, which polarised ideas and citizens earlier this year, focused on the still weak economic situation, many Latin American and Caribbean countries have high growth rates and show signs of poverty reduction.
Exports climbed in both volume and value, the middle classes grew significantly, and foreign investment returned strongly to the region. Poverty rates decreased by more than 15 per cent In Latin America and the Caribbean in the last decade. Coupled with these positive developments is the fact that democracy seems to have become firmly established as the predominant system of government in a region where, only a few decades ago, dictatorships and civil wars were the order of the day.
All these points are reasons to celebrate. But is the picture really that rosy when looking at it in more detail? This is where corruption steps in (...)
It is clear that besides growing economies, what the Americas urgently needs are the policy decisions and actions that support fairer distribution of wealth and democratic powers. To get there, the region needs leaders that think about long-term policies, stable and modern institutions, as well as citizens able and willing to exercise democracy in their daily lives (...)