Protests in Santiago de Chile, October 2019. Photo by Hugo Morales via commons.wikimedia.org, CC BY-SA 4.0

Transatlantic Dialogue II: Latin America – How to Forge a New Social Contract

The second session of the BTI project’s transatlantic dialogue series “Troubling Trends in Transformation” co-hosted by the Bertelsmann Foundation North America (BFNA), CADAL and Chatham House focused on the need to forge a new social contract in Latin America and the Caribbean.

For the sixth Transformation Index BTI edition in a row, the level of democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean has been on the decline. The number of autocracies in the region has reached an all-time high since the 1990s, and the economic performance and innovative strength seen in most countries is too low to sustain hopes of economic opportunity and social inclusion. Doubts about democracy are growing – as is the intensity of political and social conflicts.

This session assessed the prospects for democratic resilience in the region. It discussed the resurgence of authoritarianism, the erosion of stateness and the decline of democracy approval, driven by corruption and social exclusion. Panelists also focused on the unsustainability of a resource-driven growth model without productivity gains, product diversification, the strengthening of domestic demand and a substantial integration of the informal sector into the formal sector. The conversation focused on the prospects for forging a new social contract were and strategies of consensus-building and social inclusion to counter polarization.


Viviana Giacaman
Strategic Planning Officer – Team Leader, Resident Coordinator Office, United Nations Chile

Christopher Sabatini
Senior Research Fellow for Latin America, US and the Americas Programme, Chatham House; Member of the CADAL Advisory Council

Peter Thiery
Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Political Science, Heidelberg University; BTI Regional Coordinator Latin American and the Caribbean

Introduction by
Hauke Hartmann
Senior Expert, Transformation Index BTI, Bertelsmann Stiftung; Member of the CADAL Advisory Council

Samuel George
Global Markets and Digital Adviser, Latin America Specialist, Bertelsmann Foundation

About the dialogue series:

The dialogue series “Troubling Trends in Transformation”, co-hosted by the Bertelsmann Foundation North America (BFNA) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, intends to dig deeper into the findings of a troubled decade, both regionally and thematically. In cooperation with like-minded institutions and well-connected think tanks around the world, we discuss the current and future challenges to political and economic transformation as well as governance perfomance. The results of the BTI serve to kick off a broader debate on how to strengthen democracy, market economy and good governance in a post-COVID world.

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