Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Liberalism in Ecuador

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Abstract

Ecuador suffers from a Spanish colonial legacy strongly antithetical to liberalism, which, alongside explicit slavery, included racially oriented peasant subjugation until the late 20th century. The Spanish economic system of trade mercantilism and pervasive clientelism continues to this day, albeit under new branding of 21st-century socialism. A history with twenty constitutions characterizes an unstable nation vulnerable to grandiose, illiberal populism, and the few liberal advances have tended to be top-down political calculations. One bright spot has been dollarization in 2000, which derived from the general populace and better protected earnings and wealth and stabilized the economy. The rise of the Citizen Revolution under President Rafael Correa (2007–2017), in solidarity with other socialist regimes in Latin America, has put Ecuador into a fiscal crisis and ushered in a modern authoritarian and corrupt regime, noted by many international human-rights and economic watchdog organizations. Despite an environment of intimidation with very limited free speech, liberal research and advocacy organizations continue their work and are gaining traction.