Within Latin America, Chile is held up as an example where democratic institutions are making headway. In other countries such as Argentina, the fight against corruption, remnants of populism and a weak judicial system are in evidence almost daily. Is the establishment and maintenance of good governance possible in Latin America? Using Chile and Argentina as examples it becomes clear that in our analysis of good governance we should not be limited by one model but should take into account the diversity of problems and the level of difficulty in resolving these problems when we choose to analyze whether or not a state’s governance is ‘good’.
Good governance is a universal term used to describe the level of democracy, human rights and the forms of participatory government present within a country’s political system. At its core is the democratic system which is seen as the optimal system for allowing citizens maximum freedom of expression and participation in political processes. Wijkman (1998) claims that, “Good governance entails a vast set of democratic processes and institutions at every level of society, from the local council to regional, national and international institutions, that allow the voices of the people to be heard, conflicting interests to be peacefully resolved, and a forging of consensus towards greater social progress (p. 89).”
Good governance became an important concept in the late 80s when it became tied to foreign aid programs, in addition to playing a crucial role in analyzing a country’s competitiveness for foreign investment (‘Weapons of Mass Upliftment’). While in the era of the Cold War “the flow of aid, in particular by major bilateral donors, was strongly influenced by strategic foreign policy interests”.