*Modern Paraguay: South America’s Best Kept Secret*

There should be more books serving as introductions to individual countries, and this one, written by Tomás Mandl, is a fine entry in the genre.

…Paraguay was South America’s first country to get electricity, railroads, and an iron foundry.

The Triple Alliance War of 1864-1870:

Although available data and sources remain contested, estimates put the figure at 25 percent of the Paraguayan population killed on the lower end, and upwards of 60 percent on the higher end…

For purposes of contrast, Poland during WWII saw “only” about 20 percent of the population killed.

Under Stroessner, the torture centers were neither secret nor undercover.  And:

The clear pattern post-Stroessner is one of mild support for democracy: While in 2017 more Paraguayans agreed with the claim “democracy is preferable” than in 1995 (55 percent versus 52 percent, respectively), the average for the period was 46 percent….When Latinobarómetro asked Paraguayans to assess their country’s political regime on a range where 1 is “not democratic” and 10 is “fully democratic,” they have responded “5” consistently in almost every year of the twenty-first century.

With mandatory voting the average turnout rate is about 66 percent in recent times.  And:

Notably, the largest center for Paraguayan studies is located in Argentina.

I enjoyed this sentence:

Unfamiliarity with Paraguay is not new.

Paraguay has very low FDI even by Latin American standards, it is typically rated as the most corrupt country on the continent, and a common saying is “¿Con factura o sin factura?”

Highly recommended, you can pre-order here, and yes the author does speak Guarani and he does also know the Solow growth model and why Singapore is interesting.

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