- LATIN AMERICA
- MIDDLE EAST
- United Kingdom
- United States
- New Zealand
- South Africa
"Will it be the dawn of the Latin American decade?" asked the headline of a
"We are likely to see Uruguay and Chile among the world's advanced economies in 10 or 15 years," Foxley told me. "And Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and eventually Colombia are likely to join them in the next 15 to 20 years."
Latin America's growth is not just the result of China's booming commodity imports from the region,
But skeptics paint a more sobering picture of the region's future.
Latin America is growing at less than half the rates of China or India; inflation rates in Venezuela and Argentina are about 30 percent; the crime rates in Mexico, Central America and Venezuela are reaching all-time records; education and innovation standards are rapidly falling behind those of the rest of the world, and much of the region's growth is based on world commodity prices that could tumble if China has an economic setback.
Over the past 10 years, Latin America's dependence on raw materials has risen from 27 to 39 percent, according to ECLAC'S figures. Instead of diversifying their exports and producing increasingly sophisticated goods, most countries are just exporting more raw materials, much like they did centuries ago.
Just as the
My opinion: Despite new economic and political stability in countries such as Brazil, Chile and Peru, much of the current excitement about Latin America is optimism by default. The U.S. economy is not yet out of the woods; Europe is a mess; the Middle East is boiling. And that means international economists are eager to see bright spots wherever they can find them.
Latin America is doing relatively well, mostly thanks to external factors. I hope I'm wrong about this, but barring a major move to improve its education standards and diversify its exports, this will not be the "dawn of Latin America's decade." With luck, it will be the start of an era of prosperity for a few countries, and the last two or three years of a cycle of externally driven growth for most others.
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World - 'Latin American Decade' or Wishful Thinking? | Global Viewpoint