In a lecture given by a Dr. Jose Diego Sanchez, we learned a lot about the structure of the Tico economy and how it shifted over the past three or four decades. This lecture explained many things about the culture that seemed very strange to an American. For instance:
How is my host mother able to travel the world off of her retirement pension? In the united states, many government jobs are not the best jobs one can half. Although they come with pensions, many Americans have to work a second ob to supplement their retirement pension. But today, we learned the Costa Rican’s have a very big government and the jobs are often very good paying. They also come with very nice benefits. My host mother worked for their Department of Elections and is now retired. She is in a very comfortable situation.
Why is coffee So important? Previously, (1970’s) the coffee in Costa Rica was controlled by a few wealthy families and they simply exported the raw beans. Now, there are many people involved and the wealth of coffee is much more spread out. They export less of the raw bean and do some roasting in their own country which helps them profit more form the industry. Coffee has however fallen from being their top industry. They have a more diversified export pool and tourism has become a very big industry. Although it has fallen from their dominant industry, coffee is still vital to their economy.
Why does Costa Rica seem to be more developed than some of the other places in Central America? Well… because they are. Based on Dr. Sanchez’s lecture Costa Rica is the second richest country (per capita) in Latin America. It is far more “right,” toward a more capitalistic country than the other countries in Latin America. That has allowed the country to grow faster and gain more wealth than many of the other countries that surround it. The biggest contradiction is that despite having a further right economy, they have an enormous government. Those usually do mix. Despite that, they have a competitive market with most people in the private sector working in a small business.