Militarization, Democracy, and Development

The Perils of Praetorianism in Latin America

By (author) Kirk S. Bowman

Paperback - £33.95

Publication date:

15 November 2002

Length of book:

304 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271023922

Do Third World countries benefit from having large militaries, or does this impede their development? Kirk Bowman uses statistical analysis to demonstrate that militarization has had a particularly malignant impact in this region. For his quantitative comparison he draws on longitudinal data for a sample of 76 developing countries and for 18 Latin American nations.

To illuminate the causal mechanisms at work, Bowman offers a detailed comparison of Costa Rica and Honduras between 1948 and 1998. The case studies not only serve to bolster his general argument about the harmful effects of militarization but also provide many new insights into the processes of democratic consolidation and economic transformation in these two Central American countries.

“This book comes at a particularly appropriate moment, one in which the United States is rethinking its unconditional support for democratic regimes and may be moving toward support for almost any regime that will join it in its war against the terrorists. Bowman shows that this may prove to be a Faustian bargain, one with serious long-term consequences for development in the Third World. The quantitative and qualitative evidence in this work is very persuasive and should be troubling for those who support the view that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend.'”

—Mitchell A. Seligson, University of Pittsburgh