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Fall and Rise of the Market in Sandinista Nicaragua

Fall and Rise of the Market in Sandinista Nicaragua

Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    Fall and Rise of the Market in Sandinista Nicaragua
    Book Description:

    Ryan focuses on four broad issue areas -- the organization and role of the state sector, price policy, relations with the bourgeoisie, and agrarian reform. The interactions between these issue areas, and between the technical and political contradictions they reveal, demonstrate the complexity of choices faced by the Sandinista leadership.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6562-3
    Subjects: Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
    Phil Ryan
  4. The FSLN Leadership: Basic Information
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acronyms Used in the Text
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. A Note on Units of Measure and Translations
    (pp. xvii-2)
  7. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-21)

    A warm Sunday afternoon, January 1987. I am doing guard duty with Don Andres, on a hill overlookingLa Sarpresa,a state farm with some 140 hectares of good coffee land, about 60 kilometres north-east from the departmental capital of Jinotega. Perhaps to avenge its former owner, an officer of Somoza's National Guard, the farm has been destroyed twice by the contras, in 1983 and 1985. Outside the door of the hut in which we sleep there is a simple wooden cross, in memory of sixteen coffee pickers murdered during the 1985 attack.

    Today, though, the farm is quiet below...

  8. 2 The Ideology of the Sandinista Leadership
    (pp. 22-54)

    This chapter will examine the ideology of the FSLN’S nine-man National Directorate. I will use Braybrooke’s definition of ideology as a “subjectively coherent set of political beliefs” (1967, 4:124). More specifically, the chapter will focus on those aspects of the leadership's ideology that might have affected theirdomesticpolitical and economic policies once in power. Hence it will not examine the ideological roots of the Sandinistas' strategy for assuming power, nor of their foreign policy stance, except where it bears upon the immediate object of study. The central argument of the chapter is that the FSLN came to power shaped...

  9. 3 The Legacy of the Somoza Era and Initial Sandinista Strategy
    (pp. 55-96)

    Lenin commented in 1918 that “the only material we have to build communism with is what has been left us by capitalism” (1971,72). The legacy that a revolutionary government inherits represents both a series of obstacles to change, and the very medium through which change must be fashioned. While the rhetoric of revolution promotes the myth of total change, the sober reality facing victorious revolutionaries demands that they manage a complex dialectic of continuity and change. For example, economic collapse must be avoided. But in the short run, and perhaps even for a longer period, relative stabilization of the economy...

  10. 4 Reconstruction and Consolidation: 1979–81
    (pp. 97-131)

    Upon coming to power in July 1979, the FSLN was faced with the urgent and interrelated tasks of economic reconstruction and political consolidation. By the end of 1981, it was clear that the reconstruction had fallen short of its objectives. The 1980 and 1981 economic plans had called for a total gross domestic product (GDP) growdi of 45 per cent for the biennium. Such growth would Shave returned GDP to 98 per cent of its 1977 level, largely reversing the economic collapse of the insurrec tion period. Instead, GDP rose only 10.25 Per cent over the two years, leaving 1981...

  11. 5 Stagnant Economy, Paralysed Policy: 1982–4
    (pp. 132-161)

    The 1982–4 period was one of increasing difficulties for the FSLN, difficulties that sharpened the tension between using state power to transform Nicaragua, and merely holding on to that power. The contra threat loomed as a shadow over the period, influencing relations with both the bourgeoisie and the peasantry. The FSLN sought to hinder the development of links between the bourgeoisie and the contras, while continuing to channel bourgeois demands in an economistic direction. The Sandinistas were slower, however, to recognize the threat that the contras posed for their relations with the peasantry, a perceptual lag that manifested itself in...

  12. 6 The Hesitant Turn to the Market, 1985–7
    (pp. 162-204)

    In his famous funeral oration, Thucydides has Pericles say of the Athenian empire: “It may have been wrong to take it; it is certainly dangerous to let it go” (2.62-4). Much the same could be said of die Sandinista state's relationship to the Nicaraguan economy from 1985 on. After a multifaceted attempt to take hold” of the economy by substituting state administrative action for the mechanisms of the market, Nicaragua entered a chaotic period of “letting go,” in which the FSLN sought to extricate the state from its administration of the economy without destroying its bases of support.

    In this...

  13. 7 Triumph of the Market, 1988–9
    (pp. 205-242)

    In the 1988-9 period, economic reforms scuttled most key elements of the state-dominant economy project. Price controls were abandoned, and the market was allowed to determine ever more significant economic variables, including, by 1989, the exchange rate.

    These reforms did not arrest Nicaragua’s economic decline. Real gross domestic product (GDP) dropped a total of 13.5 per cent in 1988-9, ending the period 38 per cent below its 1977 level. GDP per capita dropped 19 per cent, to just 42 per cent of its 1977 level. Large economic imbalances persisted. Exports dropped by 20 per cent in 1988, to just $...

  14. 8 Reflections on the Sandinista Decade
    (pp. 243-256)

    Max Weber ended his Protestant Ethic by insisting that “it is, of course, not my aim to substitute for a one-sided materialistic an equally onesided spiritualistic causal explanation of culture and of history” (1958b, 183). At another point in the same work, Weber stressed that “we have no intention whatever of maintaining such a foolish and doctrinaire thesis as that the spirit of capitalism ... could only have arisen as the result of certain effects of the Reformation, or even diat capitalism as an economic system is a creation of the Reformation” (91). To this last remark, Weber appended a...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 257-304)
  16. Works Cited
    (pp. 305-320)
  17. Index
    (pp. 321-328)