Fair Growth: Economic Policies for Latin America's Poor and Middle-Income Majority

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Fair Growth: Economic Policies for Latin America's Poor and Middle-Income Majority

By Nancy Birdsall, Augusto De La Torre, and Rachel Menezes
Center for Global Development, 2007
216 pp. $24.95
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Birdsall, president of the influential Center for Global Development, and de la Torre, chief economist at the World Bank, have teamed up to provide a new generation of students with this user-friendly "tool kit" of technical measures designed to yield more equitable growth paths in Latin America. Less iconoclastic than their book's title might suggest, the authors reaffirm many policies long advocated, albeit with uneven salience, by the multilateral development institutions. Building on the Washington consensus, these numerous market-oriented initiatives would advance at once efficiency and equality, speeding growth and competitiveness while spreading the fruits of growth more widely. Fearful of a populist protectionist backlash, the authors imply that antipoverty programs targeting only the extremely poor are too narrowly conceived to demonstrate that democracy delivers to the majority. Rather, in the manner of the New Deal, they urge ambitious, multipronged social democratic strategies that explicitly champion the welfare of fully 70 percent of the population -- that is, all but the already prosperous and powerful. Fair Growth could make a useful handbook for the next administration in Washington -- for its Latin American program and also for its domestic social agenda.