SAVAGE CAPITALISM AND THE MYTH OF DEMOCRACY
Written by Prof. Michael Hogan
Reviewed by Ana Sofia Carbonell
(The book may be purchased at Sandi’s Book Store in Guadalajara and on amazon.com)
Written from the perspective of an American educator living and working in Mexico for almost two decades, Savage Capitalism and the Myth of Democracy is relevant to students and educators, leaders and future leaders and for all those who participate in this hemisphere’s political system, constituents and policy makers alike. This collection of essays carefully examines the problems Latin American societies face today, including the lack of accountability for serious human rights violations, environmental damages, social inequality and serious deficiencies in education.
The link Dr. Hogan establishes between the region’s current social and economic challenges and neo-liberal policies that have been forcefully implemented for decades is supported by his research both on the field and academically. He highlights the negative impact U.S. foreign policy has sometimes had in Latin America to provide a historical context that will, no doubt, improve the complex inter-regional relationship in the hopes that all Americans (North Americans, Central Americans and South Americans) can unite to become a secure, sustainable and just region.
Hogan proposes several concrete policy solutions focusing on the role of quality education. A good education should not just allow, but encourage students to challenge assumptions, i.e., that laissez faire economics is the most democratic economic system, or that one single economic or political system is right for every country. Speaking of great teachers of the past, Hogan writes, “All of them (Socrates, Aristotle, Einstein, etc) saw the job of the teacher as one of questioning ideological certitude, contradicting overly simplistic formulations, and encouraging their students to do so.” Contemporary teachers working abroad must challenge themselves to do the same despite pressure from school administrators and government agencies. Readers familiar with Hogan’s historical works such as The Irish Soldiers of Mexico will appreciate both the careful historical analysis as well as the clear and lively writing style. In my view this book ranks right up there with Eduardo Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin America. It belongs on every educator’s bookshelf.
(Ed. Note: Prof. Hogan is a world-renown educator who taught at the American School in Guadalajara for many years. He is the author of several books and his latest can be purchased at Sandi’s bookstore in Guadalajara, and sells for 200 pesos. It can also be ordered on amazon for 13.95US, plus shipping and handling.)