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Alcides Costa Vaz

Alcides Costa Vaz has a doctorate in social sciences from the University of São Paulo. A professor and former director and vice director of the Institute of International Relations of the University of Brasilia, he has written books, book chapters and articles, published in national and internat...
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South America’s economic and political landscape: recent developments and trends

Alcides Costa Vaz , 17 September 2014

South America has experienced important domestic political and economic changes while facing important external challenges over the last 10 years. It took advantage of the favourable international economic environment before the 2008 crisis to strengthen national economies, promote growth, fight poverty and diminish economic and social inequality, although the corresponding reform of long-standing political practices and institutions proved highly contentious and a source of domestic instability in many countries. However, those achievements have been challenged by two trends: economic dynamism has been lost with the exhaustion of development strategies and the global financial crisis; and more demanding societies have increasingly criticised the performance of political institutions, mechanisms of political participation, government policies and politicians. This report analyses these trends and their differing expressions and impacts on the region to identify the most important defining features and challenges of its immediate and medium-term scenarios. It focuses on the region’s internal and external economic performance together with major political developments, particularly those derived from electoral processes and from growing societal outcry and criticism in regard to political institutions, practices and policies. The region’s political and economic prospects, and major immediate and medium-term challenges in both realms, are presented in the conclusion.

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