The Rich Coast

We just got back from a week stay in Costa Rica.

What a fascinating place! This small country (about the size of West Virginia) is full of diverse wildlife, rainforests and volcanos, as well as such activities as zip lining, white water rafting, and canopy tours.

It would be easy to categorize this as a third-world country, particularly considering that the road system has not kept up with the country’s growth and it can take a very long time to get from one point to another. Traffic, it appears, is a global problem.

However, Costa Rica has the latest in internet and mobile technology, as well as advanced medical and dental care. Education is both free and mandatory, meaning they have one of the highest rates of literacy in the world.

Even more interesting, Costa Rica eliminated its military in 1949 and seems to be doing just fine since then—despite bordering Panama and Nicaragua, and being in close proximity to Columbia, Venezuela, El Salvador, and Guatemala. While the US southern border is teeming with refugees from many of those countries, many more Americans are moving to Costa Rica than Costa Ricans (Ticos) are emigrating to the US.

Most of the population of Costa Rica is middle class. While there has been in influx of refugees from Venezuela over the last few years, there were virtually no homeless encampments or people sleeping on the streets (even with such a favorable climate). Somehow those people find a place to sleep and some kind of jobs.

A week was not enough time to really delve into why some things work better there than here. But it raises the question: Are there things we can learn from this Central American country that could help us address our own issues? Sounds like a rich subject to explore.

Check out our  marketing leadership podcasts and  the video trailer for my book, Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing that Matters.
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