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Bolivia: Glossary
Country Study > Glossary

GLOSSARY


ayllu - A self-governing and land-owning peasant community in Bolivia's highlands. May refer to either a village, a kinship group, or a clan-like organization, usually based on collective agriculture. Although a pre-Columbian term, ayllu has been used as a synonym for contemporary highland peasant communities (comunidades).

boliviano - Bolivia's official unit of currency. Replaced the peso on January 1, 1987. In 1988 the exchange rate was B2.3=US$1. Readoption of the boliviano (Bolivia's currency prior to January 1963) in January 1987 redressed the damage done to the currency by hyperinflation.

Cambas - Natives of the lowlands who often look with disdain on highlanders (kollas -- qv).

cholo - A term that has a variety of definitions and social implications. During colonial times was equivalent to mestizo but has evolved to include persons of mixed or pure Indian ancestry who are trying to move up the social and economic ladder. Cholos speak Spanish in addition to an Indian tongue.

compadrazgo - Literally, copaternity. A system of ritual coparenthood that links parents, children, and godparents in a close social or economic relationship.

corregidor - The official, usually a white or cholo , in postindependence Bolivia charged with administering local Indian affairs.

encomienda(s) - A system whereby rights over Indian labor and tribute were granted to individual colonists (encomenderos) in return for assuming the responsibility of supervision and religious education of the Indians.

fiscal year (FY) - Calendar year.

gross domestic product (GDP) - A measure of the total value of goods and services produced by the domestic economy during a given period, usually one year. Obtained by adding the value contributed by each sector of the economy in the form of profits, compensation to employees, and depreciation (consumption of capital). The income arising from investments and possessions owned abroad is not included, hence the use of the word domestic to distinguish GDP from GNP (qv).

gross national product (GDP) - Total market value of all final goods and services produced by an economy during a year. Obtained by adding GDP (qv) and the income received from abroad by residents less payments remitted abroad to nonresidents.

import -substitution industrialization - An economic development strategy that emphasizes the growth of domestic industries, often by import protection using tariff and nontariff measures. Proponents favor the export of industrial goods over primary products.

informal sector - Unofficial sector of underground economic activity. In Bolivia, consisted principally of coca cultivation, cocaine trafficking, and contraband, employing two-thirds of the work force.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Established along with the World Bank (qv) in 1945, the IMF is a specialized agency affiliated with the United Nations that takes responsibility for stabilizing international exchange rates and payments. The main business of the IMF is the provision of loans to its members when they experience balance of payments difficulties. These loans often carry conditions that require substantial internal economic adjustments by the recipients.

Kollas - Term for native residents of the Altiplano, including the city of La Paz, used somewhat disdainfully by native lowlanders, called Cambas (qv).

machismo - Literally, maleness. Complex of beliefs and attitudes defining the concept of masculinity.

minifundia - Very small landholdings, legally held, allowing only a bare existence.

mita - A compulsory labor system implemented by the Spaniards to work the mines. Required that all able-bodied Indian men present themselves periodically for short periods of paid work in the mines. Was abused by inhumane treatment of the conscripts, arbitrary extensions of the service period, and depletion of individual communities of their adult males.

Paris Club - A Paris-based organization that represents commercial banks in the rescheduling of national debts.

pulpería - Originally, a company store; later, a state-subsidized merchandise store selling goods at stable prices to miners and other labor groups.

rosca - A derogatory term for the national oligarchy whose basis of power was strongly shaken by the 1952 Revolution. Designated in particular the supportive group of lawyers and politicians who acted as administrators for the ruling elite.

state capitalism - A development model or strategy centered on the state, which directly controls and manages, through government agencies and public mixed corporations, most of the basic industry and infrastructure and uses incentives or disincentives to guide growth in the private sector in accordance with development priorities.

terms of trade - Number of units that must be given up for one unit of goods by each party, e.g., nation, to a transaction. The terms of trade are said to move in favor of the party that gives up fewer units of goods than it did previously for one unit of goods received, and against the party that gives up more units of goods for one unit of goods received. In international economics, the concept of "terms of trade" plays an important role in evaluating exchange relationships between nations.

value -added tax (VAT) - An incremental tax applied to the value added at each stage of the processing of a raw material or the production and distribution of a commodity. It is calculated as the difference between the product value at a given state and the cost of all materials and services purchased as inputs. The value-added tax is a form of indirect taxation, and its impact on the ultimate consumer is the same as that of a sales tax.

World Bank - Informal name used to designate a group of three affiliated international institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The IBRD, established in 1945, has the primary purpose of providing loans to developing countries for productive projects. The IDA, a legally separate loan fund administered by the staff of the IBRD, was set up in 1960 to furnish credits to the poorest developing countries on much easier terms than those of conventional IBRD loans. The IFC, founded in 1956, supplements the activities of the IBRD through loans and assistance designed specifically to encourage the growth of productive private enterprises in less developed countries. The president and certain senior officers of the IBRD hold the same positions in the IFC. The three institutions are owned by the governments of the countries that subscribe their capital. To participate in the World Bank group, member states must first belong to the IMF (qv).




Last Updated: December 1989


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Bolivia was first published in 1989. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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