Analysis of Development in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic has experienced a tumultuous history, which has caused the country to develop into a constant state of crisis. The situation in the Dominican Republic is bleak socially and economically. There is widespread and extreme poverty and violence, as well as an overall lack of available education and medical care. Luis Barrios and David Brotherton, authors of “Dominican Republic” (2004), asserted “the current state of affairs is partly the legacy of decades of corrupt authoritarian rule, and partly due to the political betrayal and moral bankruptcy of the country’s elites who failed to bring to fruition the promises of democracy.” The disparities in income and education between the richest and the poorest in this country are extreme, and there has been little true economic development in decades. The economic and social development of the Dominican Republic is continuously being hindered by the widespread corruption of the elites and the politicians.
The Dominican Republic has a long history of corruption and poverty. In 1930, a military coup put Rafael Trujillo in power. Trujillo ruled the Dominican Republic for over 30 years as an absolute dictatorship (Barrios & Brotherton 2004). Trujillo followed an uneven mix of repression and ruthlessness along with modernization (Barrios & Brotherton 2004). Many people suffered under his dictatorship. Trujillo was always on the look out for disloyalty and potential enemies. Anyone suspected of being disloyal was punished. However, contrary to this ruthlessness, Trujillo also promoted the development of transportation and education, but only in certain areas. For example, Trujillo refused to modernize the North Coast, and in 1946 Trujillo closed down the Puerto Plata’s harbor completely (Barrios & Brotherton 2004). The corruption and violence continued until 1961 when Trujillo was assassinated. When he died the infrastructure, as well as the economy and the social conditions of the people, were in shambles.
Immediately following Trujillo’s assassination, the country lacked strong leadership for many years. It wasn’t until the 1970s that things started happening in the Dominican Republic. Economic development started moving forward in the tourism industry. Between 1974 and 1982, over C$ 113 million was invested in the Puerta Plata area of the North Coast (Barrios & Brotherton 2004). Through the development of tourism, the Dominican began developing a middle class. Tourism developed so much that laborers and farmers began leaving their jobs to move to the North Coast and get a job there. The disadvantage of this development was that nearly all areas not related to tourism were neglected.
Aside from tourism, the economy of the Dominican Republic has suffered. High tariffs and an anti-export mentality prevented the Dominican economy from developing. However, 2001, the Dominican government attempted to boost the economy by reducing many of their restricting tariffs. “The reduction in tariff rates and in their dispersion is evident, but the government yet uses tariffs and temporary excises as a means of protection for some industries/sectors, mainly agricultural products and raw materials that compete with imports” (Santos-Paulino 2010). Figure 1 shows the reductions made on import tariffs. These changes were intended to help promote the economy, and enabled the closer degree of trade balance. However, these changes still fell short of the level of change needed to create sincere and lasting development. After changes were seen following the first round of tariff reforms, further changes were made in an effort to boost exports.
Figure 1: Before and After 2001 Trade Reform
Type of Imports Tariff (%)
Final consumption 20–35 20...