Patterns of Military Entrepreneurship in Latin America
35 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 2 Sep 2009
Date Written: 2009
In many Latin American countries the military remains an influential economic actor despite the shift to democratic regimes and market-based economies. Yet while critics have targeted the region’s military entrepreneurs – the military owners, managers or stakeholders of economic enterprises – as a challenge for the development of liberal democracies, they have not paid sufficient attention to distinguishing different types of military entrepreneurship that reflect distinct historical patterns and political implications. This paper identifies three major types of military entrepreneurs in Latin America: industrializers determined to build national defense capabilities and compete for international prestige, nation-builders seeking to promote economic development that can foster social development and cohesion, and rentier capitalists pursuing financial gain for members of the military through investment ventures. Through short narrative histories, it reviews important differences among the three types in terms of their origins, paths and political consequences. The conclusion considers how we should assess these patterns to better understand the implications of military entrepreneurship.
Keywords: Military, business, Latin America
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