The Second Economy in Nicaragua is the Second Front: Washington’s Efforts to Destabilise any Succeeding American Revolution

  • W. Gordon West


The second economy in Nicaragua becomes empirically apparent to even the most casual visitor within a few days if not hours:

As I leave the library to walk to lunch, there is a well-dressed elderly lady on the way down the Avenida Simon Bolivar (the main street) who keeps asking every day if I want to sell American dollars to buy some [black market] cordobas (Field notes, 10 March 1985).

Conceptualising, explaining, and understanding this second economy, however, is enormously more difficult than becoming aware of it. Clarifying distinctions are needed, especially regarding the use by northern economists of the term ‘second economy’, connoting restrictions on free labour markets (see Thompson et al., 1980; Henry, 1979; Scraton and South, 1984), and the Third World ‘second economy’, occupied by the marginalised majority, but only occasionally analysed criminologically (Walker-Larrain, 1983: 20). Latin American criminologists now argue insistently that northern theories and concepts cannot be uncritically applied to the particularities of their continent (see, for example, Aniyar de Castro, 1979–80: 7–15; Del Olmo, 1981; Riera and Del Olmo, 1981).


Black Market Black Economy Economy Crime Coffee Tree Mixed Economy 
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Copyright information

© Maria Łoś 1990

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  • W. Gordon West

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