Obviously coffee plays a big role in the Costa Rican economy, but not so obvious is why did coffee start as the backbone of the Costa Rican economy. Why coffee started as the backbone is an interesting story. Nearly 200 years ago the government offered farmers free coffee plants for those that wanted to work. Once the coffee was harvested the government would buy the coffee off of the farmers which lead to the start of the Costa Rican coffee production.
Now that it is clear how the coffee industry started in Costa Rica a key follow up question would be why has the coffee industry continued to prosper after almost 200 years. One of the possible answers to that question can be due to the cheap labor. In Costa Rica there is an addition 66% tax based off of a workers salary that an employer must pay to the government. Coffee farmers though do not have to pay that tax to the government for the workers that harvest the coffee because they are not paid on a salary basis. Because of this saved money it has continued to allow coffee farmers to produce coffee efficiently and be economically profitable. Currently the workers that harvest the coffee are working to change this and get equal rights that all other Costa Rican employees have.
Another topic also touched on by the guest lecturer was the large size of the Costa Rican government relative to the size of the country. When the guest lecturer brought this up my first question was why was the Costa Rican government so large. Shortly after I learned that the government grew greatly in the late 2000’s as a result of the recession that was occurring almost globally. To prevent the Costa Rican economy from collapsing the government hired many workers to give them jobs. As a result of this influx of workers the Costa Rican government grew to a size much larger than needed for the small size of the country.
One of the discrepancies I noticed in the beliefs of the Ticos’ is that they supposedly disagree with the amount of taxes put on them by the country, yet they continue to elect a president affiliated with a left wing political party. I believe that fewer people disagree with the amount of taxes put on them than it may have been portrayed by the guest lecturer.
A question I cannot answer though is why the family dog, Coco, (featured here) thinks my bed is his bed too.