Banana Republics: Worthy of Note These Days? – Tuesday, September 20

Please join us at 9:00 am (CDT) on Tuesday, September 20 for a Zoom round table on “banana republics.”

An immediate reaction from many Americans shocked over a presidential administration using its security service to “harass” an extroverted and obstreperous political rival was that America’s constitutional republic was in danger.

That republic is 246 years old.  John Glubb, the English pro-consul in the Middle East after World War I, once wrote that the arc of history gives dynasties and great powers roughly 250 years of sway before they decline and then collapse.

Banana republics are usually considered as a peculiar form of government in Central and South America, where the state apparatus is captured by rent seekers profiting from the exploitation of natural resources.  Thus, banana republics have been considered as a pre-capitalist political order.

Yet, perhaps there can also be a post-industrial elitist political order of highly educated, technically proficient, knowledge workers, who extract rents from finance, high tech and “grifting,” with the help of their friends.

What, do you suppose, creates the conditions for banana republics to thrive and what measures could restrain their emergence and undermine their exercise of dominion over society and the economy?

I have long thought after close-up examination of cultures in Mexico, El Salvador and the Philippines that 400 years of Spanish colonialism after the Council of Trent could explain a lot about the politics of those “banana republics.”

The event is free, but space is limited.

To register, please email