STATE AND SOCIETY IN LATIN AMERICA
MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment July 2021 & Jan 2022
Q. 1. Examine the social and economic legacy of Latin America.
Ans. Social and Economic Legacy: It was the pre-industrial period when Latin America was ruled as colonies by the Iberian powers – Spain and Portugal.
The wealth from the region was exploited by the colonizers to finance capitalism in Europe. The mining of silver in Latin America, for example. contributed a lot towards the development of the European economy.
Silver mining during 1560-70s in the region was one of the sectors with the largest scale of production. At that time, it was also the most intensive use of capital in the world economy
The conquistadores exploited the indigenous people of the Aztecs and the Incas. The Amerindians were sent to work on the mines in Mexico and Peru or they were confined to their villages as oppressed and impoverished.
In the last quarter of the 16th century after the invasion of the Spanish forces, the existing structure and demographic dynamics were destroyed in the region.
A rigid socio-economic two-class structure of the Spanish overlords and the indigenous populations of peasants emerged. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
The semi-feudal encomienda/hacienda and the capitalist plantations came into existence. Under the encomienda system, the conquerors were granted by the Crown, the right of Indian labour with the obligation to evangelise the indigenous population.
These grants of land could not be inherited except by special permission. However, the system was abused as the edicts were not properly enforced.
The grants of labour became de facto grants of land.
Feudalism, which was fading away from Europe, found a new lease of life in Latin America. The Spanish Crown rewarded the conquerors and the lower nobility with grants of land to make them loyal and to keep them from rebelling against the Crown.
Repartimiento (division of Indian labour was also introduced to allocate labour for public work which included work on private estates and ranches and mines.
They also rationalized forced labour on grounds that even the ancient Inca rulers in Peru had used forced labour called mita.
They also imported African slaves from across the Atlantic to the region.
The Portuguese started colonizing the Latin America in a similar manner, but they were more relaxed, easygoing and largely limited their colonies to the coast.
The browns and the blacks were considered inferior to the Whites. In the practice of racialism, slave labour and other forms of exploitation were justified.
The Portuguese were the first among the European to make slave raids and purchase of slaves from African chiefs on the west coast of Africa.
With the large scale import of African slaves, slave-plantation systems were set up in Brazil and the Caribbean region. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
The Atlantic slave trade continued from 1451 to 1870. About 10 million slaves were transported, of which 1.6 million were transported to Spanish America, 3.6 million to Brazil, 2 million to British colonies (including USA) and 1.6 million to the French Caribbean.
The industrial revolution in Britain was supported by slave-based plantations which produced rum, sugar and other tropical products.
Many of the manufactures from Britain were obtained by selling these products.
The agrarian structure patterned to suit the interests of the colonizers led to the evolution of the hacienda system.
It was a feudal system as the hacendado had complete lordship over the estate. The peasants who worked the hacienda were totally under his protection.
It was also a capitalist enterprise as it generated wealth for the lord. It produced commodities like coffee, sugar and tobacco for the world market.
The hacienda system was self-contained socially, politically, economically and religiously.
The structure of the society was hierarchical and based on colour. Various royal officials – encomenderos and corregidor -exercised the authority.
The Whites including the Spaniards (born in Spain) and the Criollo – the people of Spanish origin born in Latin America, were at the top of the social ladder.
They were the landlords and the merchants. The indigenous peoples or Amerindians followed by the slaves imported from Africa were at the bottom of the ladder The mulattos the offspring of the Criollo and the Blacks were placed in between.
The mestizos, the offspring of the Whites Amerindians, were placed higher than the mulattos in the social order. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
It was closer to feudal Europe. The aims of landlords were also mercantile and not to widen their political power.
The landlords were, however, the subjects of the Crown rather than vassals. The Amerindian’s condition was, however, as bad as those of the serfs in Europe.
These were the roots of Latin America’s unfortunate history of dependency on the European economy.
It became entangled with international capitalism. The upper class focused on strengthening the landed oligarchy and fulfilled the requirements of advancing capitalism in Europe.
They exploited the abundant natural resources of the region and exported raw materials to Europe and the United States.
The governing elite selected policies for growth rather than those for development.
Q. 2. Write a note on Argentine Pampas slave trade.
Ans. Why Pampas lose their glory?: The development and exploitation of Pampas during 1853-1930 was the basis of export economy growth in Argentina.
Although there were new products and areas of production, the development structure was largely similar to that of the colonial period.
The dual nature, feeding local and overseas markets, of production continued during 1853-1930. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
Even as slavery was banned, the serfdom of various kinds emerged through the large estates at the expense of surviving Indians.
Britain and USA replaced Spain and Portuguese as trading partners with a similar aim to exploit the resources of the continent.
Agricultural production failed since the 1930s to keep pace with the dual demand of fulfilling rising domestic consumption and earning foreign exchange.
The failure of Pampas to increase their productivity and as rising proportion of production destined for the urban people, there was a decline in agricultural exports. The settlement of new areas was a costly proposition.
Over time, Pampas faced the problem of soil erosion because of over-exploitation of the land resources, but no effort was made to raise the productivity of the land.
Great Depression and its Effects: In the 1930s during Great Depression, overseas markets for Pampas products fell, industrial countries increased tariffs to protect their own farm. The growth of Argentine exports came to a sudden end.
The flow of immigrants also dried up because of poor prospects of employment and income.
This condition compelled to think for an inward-looking development strategy.
Nationalism became a development ideology. Massive support also came from the urban population. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
Local manufacturing thus, expanded manufacturing on industrial raw material from inside the country.
The Argentinian export economy grew its strength from the development and exploitation of Pampas during 18531930.
Despite the fact, there were new products and areas of production; the development structure was not largely dissimilar to that of colonial times.
While production in colonial times was of a dual nature, feeding local and overseas markets, it continued to be so in the period, 1853-1930.
Though slavery was banned, the serfdom of various kinds expanded through the large estates at the expense of surviving Indian communities.
The new trading partners – Great Britain and the USA acted directly but not differently from Spain and Portuguese, to exploit the resources of the continent.
Since the 1930s, agricultural production failed to keep pace with the dual demand of satisfying rising domestic consumption and earning substantial foreign exchange.
The decline in agricultural exports resulted from the failure of Pampas to increase their productivity and the rising proportion of production destined for the urban people.
Given the initial large land resources in Pampas, the practice of extensive cultivation was widespread in that area. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
However, the demand for agricultural products continued to rise and required more settlement and cultivation of land resources.
Nonetheless, settlement of new areas was a costly proposition and hence there remained sluggish pace of land settlement resulting into stagnated agricultural output as well as in exports.
Over the years, the Pampas land faced the problem of soil erosion-a result of over-exploitation of the land resources. No effort to raise the productivity of land was contemplated.
Although Pampas land distribution was highly skewed i.e., 8 per cent of the owners held 80 per cent of the farmland, the size of smallholdings was economically unviable.
The latter constituted 27 per cent of Pampas farms and supported 17 per cent of its labour force. The low level of productivity of both land and labour contributed to their dwindling share in the total output.
Q. 3. Write an essay on the land and the Indian communities in Mexico.
Ans. Land and the Indian Communities in Mexico: Land concentration in Mexico became particularly accentuated after the independence.
Long before independence, rural Mexico was dominated by haciendas.
Some prominent characteristics of this particular form of land ownership were:
(i) Large areas – a thousand hectares in size and some into the hundreds of thousands of hectares – were under the ownership of a single landlord.
(ii) There was self-sufficiency. Crops were grown for all food needs and efforts were made to produce all the tools, building materials and other ingredients of agricultural operations.
(iii) Land-owners had a permanent resident labour force. In the 19th century, hacienda had debt-peonage. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
They used to provide loans, called tienda de Raya, with the clear purpose of tying the peasant to the hacienda so that his labour would be available for work when required. Labour was extremely cheap for them.
(iv) Most land-owners lived in Mexico City or Europe. So they were absentee owners of land.
(v) Lands were held for social prestige. Most haciendas were poorly managed, producing little but assured income for the owners. They were semi-feudal and sometimes semi-capitalist kinds of ventures.
(vi) Haciendas lacked both investments and the introduction of new technologies.
Besides the hacienda, 19th century Mexico had two other traditional forms of landholdings: the rancho and the Indian communal villages.
The average rancho was about a hundred hectare in size. The owner and his family worked on it and sometimes they had few sharecroppers and hired labourers.
The system of Indian communal landholdings (ejidos) had somehow survived, though in greatly reduced numbers. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
An ejido varied in size but always encompassed an area of at least one square league. Ejidos included the agricultural land of the village, the woodland, and the pasture land.
These Indian communities and their holdings had constituted an important aspect of the Mexican agrarian system in the 19th century.
These villages were more self-sufficient than the haciendas and were by and large isolated from the market economy.
Liberal ideas of free trade got prominence and market mechanisms were introduced into the agricultural sector in the 19th century.
Efforts were made to Mexico a modern capitalist economy. The Indians were thought of as a hurdle to Mexico’s modernization.
Suggestions were made to mix the Indians or simply exterminate them physically and whiten the country through European immigration.
Indian communal farming was taken as one of the main causes of economic backwardness. Suggestions were made to break up these farms and convert Mexico into a class of individual capitalist farmers, MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
Far-reaching changes were introduced in the landholding system starting with the Reform Laws of 1855-57 until the overthrow of the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz in 1910.
The hacendados got more lands due to the changes. By the laws of 1857, the Catholic Church was divested ofits landholdings by the laws of 1857.
The great private haciendas confiscated Church properties communal lands of the Indians. As per the Lerdo Law of 1856, both civil and ecclesial corporations were denied the right to hold real estate.
Under the law, all Indian communal properties were granted in severalty to village members.
These laws were implemented harshly by the dictator, Porfirio Diaz (1867-1910). Porfirio Diaz also introduced a system of survey, subdivision and settlement of public lands.
About 20 per cent of the entire geographical area of Mexico passed into the hands of the land survey companies by the 1890s.
Expansion of cash crops like sugar and cotton for exports further resulted in the take over of Indian communal landholdings. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
On the eve of the 1910 Revolution, the land companies and the hacendados owned more than half of the territory of Mexico.
Major changes in the landholding system had occurred in Mexico at the end of the 19th century. Private landowners had about 20 per cent of the total area of Mexico.
The large landowners had gobbled up nearly all the communal farms.
About 90 per cent of the rural families were without land by 1910. Most of the rural families were tied to the haciendas through the debt bondage system.
About 15 per cent of the surviving Indian communal villages had some lands but in greatly reduced size.
Production, especially of staples, drastically fell down. Vast numbers of poor peasants were on the verge of starvation on the eve of the Revolution.
Land redistribution and treatment of the Indians became the focus of Mexican politics. Emiliano Zapata led Indians to rise up in revolt demanding land and liberty.
Heavily armed peasant mobilization forced the inclusion of land redistribution into the Constitution of 1917. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
President Lazaro Cardenas (1934-40) launched an extensive land redistribution programme in Latin America, distributing more than 10 per cent of Mexico’s entire territory during his tenure.
The land was granted to a village rather than to individuals under the ejido form of tenure. Cropland in most cases was held individually, while the pastures and woodlands were generally worked in common.
Though the land was distributed even after 1940, Mexico could never resolve the problem of landlessness.
In 1991, the land redistribution clause was removed and the state support mechanism was terminated.
This has brought new concentration of land and the rise of foreign-owned industrial complexes in a pattern reminiscent of the 19th century.
The situation has remained more or less the same in Latin American countries, which had not seen any worthwhile land redistribution programmes.
The pattern of landholding remained at the heart of economic inequalities and iniquitous distribution of wealth, hierarchical social order and political culture of dependence and clientelism. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
SECTION – II
Q. 7. (a) Agrarian reforms in Latin America
Ans. Agrarian Reform: The unsatisfactory land tenure situation semi-feudal or seigniorial agrarian structure inherited from colonial times – is at the heart of the land reform in most Latin American countries.
Redistribution of land resources is the key thrust of any agrarian reform. The objective of agrarian reform is to carry forward a policy that addresses the needs of a country for social and economic development and solves the problems resulting from a new land structure.
In Latin American countries, agrarian reform has taken a dramatic turn in recent decades. State has played a key role in the land reforms of the 1930s under Cardenas in Mexico and the Sandinista reforms in Nicaragua in the 1980s.
Recent land reforms are more liberal in nature and market-oriented.
After the revolution of 1910, the agrarian reform in Mexico was the first one in Latin America. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
Reforms were conducted in Guatemala in 1944 and in Bolivia in 1952. With the Cuban revolution the late 1950s, land reforms began in earnest in the whole region. The Cuban revolution had a major impact in the approach towards land reforms.
The US persuaded most of the Latin American countries to conduct comprehensive agrarian reforms for the transformation of unjust structures and land tenure systems.
The objective was to outdate latifundia and smallholdings by an equitable of land tenure and use to provide economic stability for the person who works on it.
The Inter-American Economic and Social Council suggested that effective structural changes is a fundamental requisite for development for the area concerned and must be carried out by agrarian reform.
The structural change in land tenure should raise the farmer’s income, modernize rural life by incorporating the farmer into the national social opportunities and prevent land and the income it generates from becoming a source of speculation and economic domination.
All these objectives have not been accomplished by the land reforms carried out by Latin American countries. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
There are still problems like inequality in the distribution of land and wealth, low standards of living for the rural population and new forms of peasant subordination.
Some countries have planned to implement counter-reforms with a bundle of policies. Counter reform aims to maintain the status quo while agrarian reform seeks to change the old structure.
Counter reform is thus, said as defence mechanism on the part of the power elite that felt threatened in the exercise of its privilege.
Most of these land reforms were claimed to be beneficial to the Campesinos but they have not been effective in real terms.
Structural Reforms: The structural perspective in Latin America was that the state-mandated redistribution should break the colonial dualistic agrarian structure as they saw agricultural performance and income distribution as inseparable from land ownership distribution.
The aim of these reforms was to solve the problems of an uneven land tenancy system, but in actual they have become an incentive to capitalist development.
The changes in demands for farm products, the modernizing policies, introduction of new technology and rapid growth of wage labour have supported capitalism in the countryside.
The reform was to change the traditional landlords, but a new rural bourgeoisie has emerged consolidating capitalism.
These land reforms also excluded large sectors of landless and land poor rural households.
Besides, individual poor farmers were unable to introduce new technology and the crop of their choice. The reforms thus, have failed to raise farm productivity and income.
Liberal Reforms: In the 1990s, several Latin American countries carried out liberal land reforms to redress the loopholes in the earlier reform policies.
They strengthened individual private property rights over land and replaced the state with markets as the main mechanism for distributing farmland and capital.
In contrast to earlier structural reforms, it was recommended that markets could weaken the links between ownership structure, land access and agricultural performance.
This separation of structure from performance is called the neo-structural perspective. Also,
it recommended that to have better performance in agriculture, other limitations in factor markets are to be redressed. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
(b) Role of the church in Latin American society
Ans. Role of Church in Latin American Society: Catholic Church had been playing a crucial role in Latin American society since the early 15th century when the conquerors from Spain and Portuguese started to colonize the region.
During the colonial period, religion played an important role and influenced the structure of traditional authority in Latin American societies.
However, since the early 19th century, when the states attained political independence, the state came into conflict with the traditional authority of the Churches.
Despite the rise of the state, organized religion continued to create space for itself and expanded across the region.
A Brief Historical Antecedent
Until 1960, the Catholic Church generally had aligned itself with the rich and the powerful in society. It sought to play an active role along with the industrial, military, landed and state elites. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
The nature and intensity of the Church’s alliances with these actors depended on the country and the time period. When it came to explaining the social policies of the Latin American state, the Catholic Church remained passive and non-confrontational.
Attempts were made to curb its social power through the launching of revolutions, but the Catholic Church survived as a key institution of power by building an impressive array of bureaucratic offices and networks.
After 1960, the Catholic Church’s stand on major social policies, especially as they concern the poor, changed.
Under the military regimes in many countries, a radicalized or progressive segment committed itself to making the Catholic Church the voice of the voiceless.
Although the intensity, scope and political impact of such radicalization within the Catholic Church varied across the region, at least in some countries like Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Peru, it had become politically powerful.
Under the influence of the theology of liberation in the 1960s on the construction of grassroots Christian communities and the encouragement of local-level political organization, the new Church emphasized the necessity to alter the unjust social structures.
This stance gained in popularity since some members of the clergy displayed their political activism by organizing the poor. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
Some in the process of course became victims of state repression.
Under military rule, political activism carried out by the progressive segment of the Catholic Church gained much publicity.
During 1960-1985, the Catholic Church became one of the main centres of political opposition after most avenues of political repression were either substantially restricted or completely shut down by the military regimes in the region.
Challenges for the Church
During the mid-1980s when Latin America started experiencing a movement towards greater democratization of the political system,
many of the pressure groups, political parties, labour organizations and other popular sector activities once banned or restricted began to develop active political agendas
In this changing landscape, the efficacy of political activism undertaken by the progressive section of the Catholic Church was called into question.
The Catholic Church has to take serious stock of its own institutional capacity as
competition staged by the reinvigorated political parties and groups, labour unions and popular sector organizations intensifies.MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
A decision to regress in political activism would entail considerable discomfort for the more radicalized segment of the Catholic Church.
There is also increased competition from the non-Catholic Churches and such a decision in such a situation would be counter-productive.
A greater institutional capacity is required for an active Catholic Church. There has been a record fall in the number of ecclesiastical personnel in Latin America.
Until today, the major challenge for the Catholic Church has been to channel the previously active segments of its religious personnel to carry out Pope John Paul II and that of Pope Benedict XVI’s messages in favour of the new evangelization of the region.
Transforming the activist Catholic groups in areas known for radical activism in the 1970s and 1980s is no small problem.
Bitterness is still there between the conservative and the progressives within the respective Church hierarchies.
Another challenge to the Church comes from the fast-growing Protestant Churches. In recent years, the growth of Protestant denominations has been quite impressive.
Protestants, especially the evangelical Protestant Churches focus on individual spiritual needs. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
Besides, their focus on education, saving, thriftiness, honesty and an individual commitment to make a better life within a limiting material environment have brought many people into their fold.
New Church in Contemporary Society
Between 1945 and 1970, Catholic action enjoyed renewed fervour. The Church effected changes in the liturgy.
The Church began rethinking problems of ecclesiastical authority. Since World War II, the Church became more deeply involved in activities concerning social and economic affairs. The role of the laity became increasingly important.
When the modern state failed to become the most efficient of bureaucratic institutions, organized religions evolved and orchestrated innovative ideological compromises and new strategic initiatives to maintain their influence in society.
Several efforts were made in different regional and national contexts in Latin America to address the worsening social realities like poverty,
growing social and power inequity and the lack of adequate access to education and of the development models pursued by states in the region fuelled popular aspirations to seek refuge in the promised solemnity and spiritual salvation by the Churches,
The Catholic Church was the most recognized and important in the region. In recent years, some other Churches, especially Pentecostal, which are quite resourceful and organized, have made much headway across the region.
Latin America has now become a marketplace for competing religions, which has an impact on the political aspect of the region. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
The Catholic hierarchy has made a political retreat since Vatican II.
A fair amount of attention has been given to clear conservative trends in the Vatican policy, some of which discouraged political activism instigated by the theology of liberation.
The constraining nature of the Vatican although is likely to continue under Pope Benedict XVI, there is some evidence to reflect the fact that the Catholic Church has rebounded in wan Latin American countries in spite of the obvious problems of resource constraint.
It has been able to form alliances with other sectors, has innovated new strategies of popular mobilization and has been effective in the new era of active religious competition.
Q. 10. (a) Military in Politics
Ans. Military in Latin American Politics: Military is the most powerful political actor during the 19th century had two important characteristics:
(i) at times militaries were part of the dominant oligarchic interests and got involved in conflicts that caused frequent civil wars.
At others, they were also regional or personal organizations. In the Central American republics, armies were created to defend the political and economic domination of the oligarchies. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
In Argentina and Mexico, armies evolved as an institution, with its own stakes and share in the political and economic resources of the republics.
(ii) National armies stayed above the factional politics of the oligarchy. They played the role of a moderating power.
When conflicts happen, the militaries would also assume power, but only temporarily until civilians were able to work out new political arrangements for governance.
The role of a chief moderator was particularly the feature of Brazilian politics after the abdication of the emperor in 1889.
Although most countries had set up military academies within the first quarter of a century after independence, armed forces had a low level of professionalization.
Towards the end of the 19th century and particularly in the first two decades of the 20th century, military academies-patterned after the German and French academies-produced a more professional officer corps. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
In the past, officer corps had come generally from the land-owning families, but now they were increasingly drawn from urban middle-class backgrounds.
Factions such as Conservative and Nationalist’ or Progressive’ began crystallizing in the armed forces of most countries.
The professionalism in armed forces grew but they continued to play a role in politics and exercised their moderating power.
They staged military coups in some countries as it happened in Argentina in the decade of the 1930s.
By the 1950s, the role of the military has changed. They had to counter insurgency and look after the internal security of the nations against the so-called ‘communist threats.
These roles were influenced by the pattern of a relationship with the US in terms of training, indoctrination and weapons before the Second World War.
The armed forces had new concerns with regard to the nation-building processes, important economic development and engineering a conducive polity for that, and internal security against ‘subversive elements. MPSE 2 Free Solved Assignment
Higher military academies in Brazil and Peru had even shown concerns for conditions of underdevelopment and the necessity for social and economic ‘reforms for long term internal security and economic development of their countries.
(b) Latin American Free Trade Association (LAFTA)
Ans. Latin American Free Trade Association (LAFTA): The Latin American Free Trade Association (LAFTA) was created by the Treaty of Montevideo in 1960. Members include Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Peru.
Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador. This was the first step towards regional cooperation in Latin America.
It adopted a liberal economic free trade framework to help nations benefit from a larger market through regional integration by taking advantage of the economies of scale in producing for this larger market.
LAFTA failed to take shape due to a number of reasons. The size of the grouping is one of the reasons of its failure.
In Latin America in the 1960s, the strategy of Import Substitution Industrialization (1) took rool in the region focusing on strengthening all the levels of the domestic industry with the help of government aid ISI in Latin America came about with left-leaning ideologies.
Latin American countries adopted increased protectionist measures. But they were not large enough and neither did they have adequate resources to sustain such inward-looking policies.
The failure of the ISI led to changes in the way regional cooperation was seen. The aim of industrialization remained, but the countries realized that this could not come about till they did not integrate their markets.
From just free trade agreements, the goal became development and regionalism with state support. In this regard, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America played a crucial role.
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