Unavoidable Restructuring In Latin America

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Unavoidable Restructuring In Latin America

By Fernando Fajnzylber
Duke University Press, 1990
207 pp. $42.50
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This ambitious and insightful study aims, no less, to explain why Latin American countries seem peculiarly unable to achieve high economic growth combined with equity. Some have been economically dynamic but socially disintegrated; others have been equitable but stagnant; several are both stagnant and unintegrated; but the "box containing countries with both dynamism and equity is empty." A Chilean-born economist with broad international exposure, Fajnzylber argues that experience elsewhere, especially in Asia, shows that this conflict between goals is not inevitable. He suggests that Latin American countries have been unable to absorb, innovate and analyze technological knowledge in productive activities mainly because they lacked an equitable agrarian transition and profound concern for democratization. These things would allow Latin American nations to incorporate the ongoing participation of societal segments that have not benefitted from current consumption patterns. The main key to progress is the right sequence: first equality, then austerity, then growth and competitiveness, and the author proposes regional industrial restructuring based on this concept. A stimulating work, contradicting much current orthodoxy on Latin America's needs.

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