The military abolition of 1948 allowed the Central American country to triple its educational and health coverage, and boost economic growth
Costa Rica raised this Saturday an anniversary, that of the abolition of the Army, to the status of a national holiday with the certainty that its 70 years without armed forces have yielded much more than an international image of pacifism or its already known political stability. mid-last century. The benefits of that decision are now measured directly in numbers, in a progress leveraged by the social investment that was raised after 1948, according to the statistical and historical research carried out by an institute of the University of Costa Rica (UCR) .
The welfare indices that keep Costa Rica above the Latin American average can be explained in part by the growth of investment in education and health after the elimination of the Army, according to the study of the Development Observatory of the UCR.. Social investment increased fivefold – from 2.6% of GDP to 13.4% – in the 25 years after the decision made in 1948 by President José Figueres, of Catalan origin, although it was promoted earlier by other politicians from The time. The researchers also point to a reduction in the budget for security in that period, after the ex-revolutionary Figueres, more for political strategy than for pacifism or economic calculation, signed the decree of abolition. This measure was later included in the 1949 Constitution.
In those 25 years after the demilitarization, Costa Rica raised the investment in education from 15% to 35% and was able to triple the number of schools (2,610 in the year 1974). It was also able to increase health money to 29% of GDP and triple the percentage of the population’s social insurance (66% in 1974), according to data collected by researchers Alejandro Abarca and Suráyabi Ramírez. They analyzed data from the economic history base of the Latin American study center in Oxford and followed a method of “synthetic control” to be able to determine the effects attributable to the abolition of the army.
The educational and health advance, they explain, had an impact on the average growth rate of the economy going from 1.33% of GDP before 1949 to 2.44% in the second half of the 20th century. “This shockIt is unique in Latin America, “says the study, which points to Costa Rica as the country with the second highest growth rate in this period. This unprecedented expansion coincides, the research adds, with a series of institutional changes made largely thanks to political stability: in these 70 years the country has only suffered an attempted coup (1955), which ended up resolving the diplomatic way. “Our results provide solid empirical evidence to affirm that the abolition of the Costa Rican army contributed significantly to the long-term development of the country,” the study reads.
The Costa Rican president, Carlos Alvarado, on Saturday raised the rank to the celebration and honored the figure of “Don Pepe” Figueres, who died in 1990. In addition, the President reiterated his political message about the need to “abolish” the consumption of fuels fossils, in the environmental line of “decarbonization” that was proposed since he took power, on May 8. He also honored the anthropologist and economist Christiana Figueres, daughter of “Don Pepe” and world leader in the fight against climate change.
In a parallel with the economic benefits that the abolition of the army had, although they were not the purpose, Christiana Figueres participated in the official act through a communion from India and said that the decarbonization of the economy can bring long-term returns to the development and the finances of the countries. Costa Rica is now offering its headquarters in November 2019 for the Climate Summit (COP25), following Brazil’s decision not to sponsor it as scheduled.
The 70th anniversary of the abolition and the revelation of its impact on progress are crossed with a moment of uncertainty in public finances and difficulties in sustaining social investment. To this end, the president pushed for a tax reform that could be approved definitively this week, despite the opposition of unions of public workers reflected in the strike that thousands of educators of the state system maintain.
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