Luis Bértola (Universidad de la República, Montevideo) presented the book Economic Development of Latin America Since Independence (Oxford University Press, 2012; Spanish version published by Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2013), co-authored with José Antonio Ocampo (University of Columbia, New York). The book combines the erudition and careful account of facts and phases that are crucial components of any good work of economic history, with a coherent theoretical framework that gives unity and consistency to the different parts of the book. The historical trajectory of the Latin American economies emerges out of the interaction between social and political actors, the initial levels of inequality (in income and wealth), and economic policies shaping the dynamics of structural change and income distribution. It is fair to say that this is a book firmly rooted in the best of the Latin American (and ECLAC) tradition in economic history. We hope that it will become part of the bibliography of every course of economic development and economic history, particularly of those programs with a focus on Latin America.
Andrés Solimano in turn presented his book Economic Elites, Crises and Democracy“(Oxford University Press, 2014) in the Grupo de los Jueves, in which he discusses the evolution of income distribution in Latin America and the reasons that explain why the region is the most unequal in the world. He addresses the variables sustaining inequality, moving beyond the Gini index to analyze what happens with income concentration at the very top level (the richest 10 %) of the income structure, as well as the size and weight of the middle classes in different countries. He also offers some interesting reflections on democracy and how to protect it from a too high concentration of economic power. He points out the need to move towards a new development path and new forms of redistributing income and power in the economy based on the concept of economic democracy in a post-neoliberal era.
|El desarrollo económico de América Latina - Luis Bértola|
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