Daniel Hannan: Why South America isn’t like North America | Reason in Guatemala 2020

Sophy Ramírez  | 03 de abril de 2020  | Vistas: 1325

After experiencing how the economic-political system works in Peru, the Britain-Peruvian politician Daniel Hannan, explains why the North American system has been so successful and describes how the governmental structure that the US developed has changed history. 

Hannan shares the story of his childhood in Peru when his family farm was attacked as an effect of the oppression of the president Velasco. He expresses his concern because Peruvians weren't shocked by this coup, even when it left Peru in a state of poverty of which they are just recovering, and emphasizes that the lack of an efficient political system in Latin America made the people accustomed to these problems. 

The settlers had brought with them between their ears a treasure that was more precious than all the silver in Taxco or in Potosi, they had brought with them a way of ordering their affairs, that was uniquely well-suited, both to the settling of the new world and to the building of an open society in it”. 

The politician states the question: Why are there more Latin Americans migrating to North America and not the other way around? and gives examples of some studies of Nogales Mexico vs Nogales Arizona, which showed that even if the people lived in the same culture the population of  Arizona had better indicators like life expectancy, infant mortality, etc. Then, he mentions that this started after the independence of the US and Alexis de Tocqueville was the first to realize why the American system worked efficiently. 

He describes the system that Spain implemented in their colonies based on a structure that would lead to some of the population into slavery and still affects the politic as well as the economic system in Latin America. Also, how the idea of land ownership and the decentralization of power in North America helped to develop a system that is still beneficial until today. 

Almost the whole world is organized on the basis of some kind of organized exploitation for the benefit of the elite”.

Hannan reveals that the secret for the success of the American system was allowing individuals to make free-standing agreements without asking permission of a king, and have them arbitrated by a neutral magistrate. Later, he compares countries like Hong Kong vs China, Israel vs Syria and Singapore vs Indonesia to expose that it is not the place or the wealth, but the system that makes a country wealthy

To conclude, Hannan expresses that some libertarian and individualistic ideas may be unnatural because our ancestors were accustomed to lie and make decisions collectively, but that we wouldn’t have evolved through this point without these ideas and education. 


Writer, journalist and politician


Nuestra misión es la enseñanza y difusión de los principios éticos, jurídicos y económicos de una sociedad de personas libres y responsables.

Universidad Francisco Marroquín