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The Great Facilitation: Developing To First World Country Status

QCOSTARICA BLOGS – There is no doubt in my mind, that Costa Rica has chosen a track toward becoming a First World Country, from its current status of a Developing Country.

This is clear both politically and socially speaking.

There is minimal isolationist/protectionist legislation “on the Books” and Free Trade Agreements with other countries abound. Global trade is here to stay.

Enlightened and educated Costa Ricans all crave for a “Costa Rica Dream”, to be somewhat similar to the “American Dream” (as it once was), with open floor plan housing in gated communities offering all services, new cars to drive, and an endless stream of consumer “goodies” to purchase.

It is not a matter of liking, or not liking this evolution that is taking place, or whether it is good, or bad, it is a fact of evolution globally in such Developing countries (North Korea being a dark exception).

Of course, some of you reading this blog will say that Costa Rica is better-off without any of this transition taking place, but I don’t believe that that is a realistic position to be maintained.

The question is, “How best can Costa Rica achieve this transition?” In my last blog, “Does the Costa Rican Government Have The Right Stuff?”

I discussed a three point plan to improve the current economic situation in Costa Rica. Although there would be some short-term hardship in implementing the economic plan proposals for some Costa Ricans as is discussed in the previous blog, I firmly believe that to follow this economic course of action would be in Costa Rica’s best interests for the Country as a whole.



As a Canadian, Naturalized as a Costa Rican, which, of course, includes the right to vote, still leaves me in the foreigner category in the eyes of a majority of native Costa Ricans. I accept this lot in life, knowing that whatever I would propose as a solution for any issue in Costa Rica, would be tempered by the fact that I am a foreigner and that my views should be ranked accordingly.

Americans, and I’m told by Costa Ricans, Canadians even more-so, are looked to as coming from societies to be aspired to by Costa Ricans. Accordingly, those of us from those Societies and living in Costa Rica can be influential in this great evolution taking place from Developing to First World Country status.

In my opinion, the best way that that can be accomplished, having regard to the handicaps faced by foreigners being taken seriously by Costa Ricans, is through an approach of facilitating this transition through blogging, or other points of input in the media structure, to make progressive views known and leading by example.

Pursuing a more production oriented work ethic is one of the more important “lead by example” issues that I can think of. Certainly, Multinational Companies backed by foreign investment, such as Intel, have made great strides in this area in the past and I would advocate that to continue such methods of fostering such societal development in the future, would be very healthy for the Country as a whole, both economically and socially.

However, I would certainly exclude what has become known as the “Ugly American” approach, of providing dictatorial views and making unsubstantiated general criticisms of the Society at large, as being in anyway supportive.

Overtime, I believe that this pending transition of country status will be achieved and with less hardship being suffered by the population, through the adoption of First World Country principles in this facilitating fashion.


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About Richard Philps

Richard Philps Attorney Richard (Rick) Philps is a Canadian citizen, naturalized as a citizen of Costa Rica. Rick practiced law in Victoria, B.C., Canada as a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, for fourteen years, prior to moving to Costa Rica in 1998. Rick then earned his Bachelor of Laws and Licensing Degrees (Civil Law), with Honours, and a Post-Graduate Degree in Notary and Registry Law, from the Metropolitana Castro Carazo and Escuela Libre de Derecho Universities, in San Jose. Rick is a member of the Costa Rica College of Lawyers, and practices law in Costa Rica in the areas of real estate and development, corporate, commercial, contract, immigration, and banking with the Law Firm of Petersen & Philps, located in Escazu, a western suburb of San Jose. To contact Attorney Rick Philps about hiring him as your Costa Rican Attorney, please use the following information: Lic. Rick Philps - Attorney at Law, Petersen & Philps, San Jose, Costa Rica Tel: 506-2288-4381, Ext. 102; Email: rick@costaricacanadalaw.com Website: www.costaricacanadalaw.com

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  • sheldon haseltine

    They can choose all they like, but until their house is put in order and their “Dysfunctional Democracy” (Oscar Arias Quote) is demolished Costa Rica will remain where it is. There are no free passes in world economics as the Greeks have finally discovered to their cost. Fiscal responsibly, old boy networks, obliviousness to corruption, a general indifference all contribute to the current malaise. The question is there enough courage and resolution to eradicate it? As a visitor attending to a never ending legal problem I am not qualified to make that judgement; that remains for the Ticos themselves to resolve.

    • costarick

      As I state in my article, I certainly see apart of the transition being facilitated through the influence of Multinational and other foreign investors, leading by example through the introduction of a more productive work ethic and the associated social aspects. Overtime, I would expect that the necessary social revolution that you propose to achieve true First World Country status will transpire in that manner and will also inspired in-part by we, the foreigners living in Costa Rica and possessing those same ideals.

      • sheldon haseltine

        Encouragement can be provided but at the end of the day, they are going to have to take responsibility themselves. The question is can they?

        • costarick

          I believe that the next few months may answer the questions that you pose. I believe that this much sought after “Gringo lifestyle” by Ticos, what I refer to in the article as the “Costa Rica Dream”, is going to be put in jeopardy very shortly, especially for the educated, professional, upper middle class Ticos and even more so for the ones carrying domestic loans and/or mortgages in U.S. Dollars. If the Ticos want to keep that lifestyle, there is going to have to be a major realignment of social and financial responsibility in Costa Rica along the lines that I have suggested, both in this article and my previous blog entitled, “Does the Costa Rica Government Have “The Right Stuff””.

          • sheldon haseltine

            Agreed! They can’t stay in a state of adolescence forever.

    • Ken Morris

      I believe that “dysfunctional democracy” comes from a memo written by a US amabassador leaked by Wikileaks.

      • sheldon haseltine

        One newspaper attributed it to a remark by don Oscar after his meeting with with current president. Whoever said it is really unimportant. What is important is the remark itself…it was a bullseye.

        • Ken Morris

          Yeah, after I posted I saw the article in which Arias used the same phrase. I wonder if he was knowingly quoting the former ambassador, independently alighted upon the same phrase, or what.

          With you, though, I agree that the source is irrelevant while the phrase hits the bullseye. When it was first reported via Wikileaks, it was a bit of an embarrassment, but I chuckled that the ambasador had nailed it.

          Totally irrelevant speculation, but it’s possible that Arias has been privately using the phrase for years and the ambassador picked it up from him.

          • sheldon haseltine

            If so it just goes to show how the leadership of the country is content to sit on the bad news with the resulting fallout until it reaches crisis proportions. This is an example of selfish incompetence but then were we ever to expect more knowing what we do.

  • Ken Morris

    Gotta hand it to you, at least you came out and openly said that North Americans “lead by example.” Many North Americans privately believe that Ticos should emulate the superiority of the North Americans, and say this privately among themselves, but not many have the arrogance to put it in print.

    You do though. Your culture is superior, and by God you just say it. Gotta give you points for honesty.

    • costarick

      I say it, because it is a given that both the U.S. and Canada are recognized as having First World Country status, something that most Ticos wish to aspire to. I’m not saying it to be arrogant, I’m merely stating a globally held position with respect to the pecking order of countries. Of course, First World Country status trumps Developing Country status, as the status that Costa Rica now holds, for the standard of living enjoyed by its citizens.