Liberals, Positivists, and Order

       I.            Liberal Ascendance and the Second Conquest

A.    Liberals gain control of government in most places by 1870s (1870-1929)

B.     Civilization vs. Barbarism

1. Strong sense of cultural superiority over masses

2.Saw most of Latin America as medieval, backwards, unprepared for modern world

3.Domingo Sarmiento (1811-88) coins the term – while sympathetic to rural masses, sees them as source of backwardness and tyranny

4.Benito Juarez (1806-1872)

a.       First seizes power in Mexico in 1855

b.      Passes Ley Lerdo

                                                                                                        i.            Meant to strip Amerindians and Catholic Church of lands

                                                                                                      ii.            Corporate lands and communal lands seen as economically backwards, and as bulwarks of backwards cultures

                                                                                                    iii.            Sparks civil war

C.     Modernization

1. Introduction of new technologies – railroads, telegraphs, early industrialization

2.Expansion of “European” culture into the interior

D.    Export-oriented growth

1.Strips rural people of lands in order to exploit the land for large scale export production

a.       Liberal land laws increased concentrations of land

b.      Rural masses given individual deeds, but lack resources to develop land and lose it to wealthy speculators

2.Integrates masses into a national culture by forcing them into low wage labor in export sectors

    II.            Liberalism and Positivism

A.    Liberalism in late 1800s transformed by influence of Positivism and Social Darwinism

B.     Auguste Comte (1798-1857) and Positivism

1.French engineer and philosopher, saw the turmoil of revolutionary France

2.Saw a coming age of technocratic authoritarianism

a.       Main theme was Order and Progress (and Love, though not emphasized in practice)

b.      A non-political technocratic elite would regulate society for the benefit of all

c.       Progress requires order, so a benevolent dictator would guide society

d.      Liberals would replace “Love” with Liberty, emphasizing individual talent and economic success

C.     Herman Spencer (1820-1904) and Social Darwinism

1.Presented a “scientific” understanding of social hierarchy

2.Argues that hierarchies emerged as a result of natural abilities and talents

3.Meshed well with positivist notion of a technocratic elite, seen by many Latin American elites as a natural extension of Positivism

D.    Libertarian ideals of Liberals tended to dampen the strongest  authoritarian tendencies of Positivism, but only modestly

E.     Mexican Pofiriato government an example of a successful Positivist-Liberal alliance

1.Juarez becomes increasingly more authoritarian after civil war and French Occupation (1862-67)

2.Porfirio Diaz (1830-1915) builds on this during his long rule (1876-1911)

a.       Pan e palo (bread and the club)

                                                                                                        i.            Government money used to buy off various factions

                                                                                                      ii.            Accompanied by heavy state repression and alliances with local bosses

b.      State-managed capitalism

                                                                                                        i.            Foreign investment channeled into industrialization (and to Diaz’s friends)

                                                                                                      ii.            Liberal focus on free trade, multiple exports, unregulated industry

                                                                                                    iii.            Breakneck development leads to high growth and impoverishment of masses

                                                                                                    iv.            15,500 miles of railroads built, but drove up land prices and mostly foreign controlled

                                                                                                      v.            Most of best jobs in industry reserved for foreigners

                                                                                                    vi.            Three-fourths of rural peasantry landless by 1910

                                                                                                  vii.            Rural banditry becomes common

c.       Alliance with Church

                                                                                                        i.            Church supported as a means to control peasantry

                                                                                                      ii.            But Liberal anti-clerical laws kept on books as constant threat

d.      Alliance with the technocrats (cientificos)

                                                                                                        i.            Brought into government, though not generally at highest levels

                                                                                                      ii.            Appeases middle class, though generally only the products of elite technical schools

 III.            Liberal-Positivist economics

A.    Export-oriented growth

1.Monoculture in most places

2.Growth fueled by demand for raw materials in Europe and United States

3.United States emerged slowly as major market

4.Enclave economies develop

a.       Liberal governments gave tax incentives and other incentives to get foreign investment

b.      Foreign mining, agricultural firms and railroads paid little or no tax

c.       Also paid very low wages, or paid in scrip that could only be used in company stores

d.      Thus frequently contributed little to local economies, even though national economy grew

B.     Structural economic problems

1.While the Porfiriato was successful on a macro level, Liberal-Positivist economies faced severe problems in Latin America

2.Concentration of land into hands of a few major owners, often including foreigners

3. Problems of access due to transportation issues

4.Small labor pools lead to coerced labor

a.       Peasantry focuses on subsistence

b.      Wage labor develops slowly

c.       Capital in short supply

5.      Late entry into capitalist markets

6.       Small internal markets

 IV.            Culture clash (Civilization vs. Barbarism)

A.    Liberal-Positivist elites saw European immigration as road to success

1.Social Darwinism encouraged elites to view local masses as impossible to improve

2.Europe also associated with technological achievement

3.Greatest levels in Argentina, enabling Argentina to populate the pampas and turn them into a breadbasket region

B.     Immigration changes Latin American politics

1.Immigration brings Socialists and Anarchists into the new industrialized working class

2.In part inspired by immigrant ideas, middles classes began demanding power

3.A few countries begin to deal with these pressures through limited democratization, but landed elites remain entrenched