Sunday, April 23, 2006

Latin American Economies Growing

After decades of American economic colonialism and corporate exploitation, Latin America markets have finally found a model that works for them. Despite the cries of Milton Friedman and his Chicago Boys, hyper-capitalism isn't the solution; Latin American leaders have implemented policies that harness the power of national resources to benefit all, resulting in not only unprecedented growth rates, but also a more equitable economy. A report just released by the International Monetary Fund show that Latin American economies grew 4.3% in 2005.

The two nations who have most embraced the socialist economic model, Argentina and Venezuela, both saw growth rates higher than 9%. Argentina also saw a 7.5% increase in industrial output in March of 2006. Mexico and Brazil, the two nations who bent over backwards to please Washington, saw the lowest growth rates, both under 3%.

The indigenous peoples of Latin America are still missing out of much of the growth in the region, which is a catalyst for radical market restructuring and the elections of leaders like Evo Morales and Ollanta Humala. "When you still have 52 percent of Peruvians living in poverty, it's hard to convince people these policies work," said Luis Benavente of the University of Lima in Peru.

While economic indicators are heading in a positive direction for much of Latin America, Lori Wallach of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch reminds us that high numbers don't always mean better lives for the masses, "If your growth rate is achieved by the privatization of a huge national asset, it looks good on paper, but if people lose out who depend on that employment, the quality of life declines."