Five qualified international economists review Latin America's economies from World War I to the present, thus putting the difficult "lost decade" of the 1980s into the long-term context of several decades of rapid modernization, expansion and growth. Despite considerable variation among countries, most of Latin America has experienced sustained development throughout the century. The crisis years of the 1980s may thus have been an aberration, caused by Latin American policy errors, adverse industrial country policies, and bad luck. Over the decades national markets have been created and fortified, production has been decentralized and many Latin American economies have become well integrated with the global economy. A host of recent political, economic and institutional transformations should facilitate a renewal of Latin American modernization at an accelerated pace. This overall argument is supported by considerable data and many helpful tables.