2007-10-05

Different recipes for development

U.S.-led organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been "recommending" developing countries on how to improve their economies. However, the only countries that develop are the "developed" ones... very few developing countries have improved their economies. Moreover, those who have improved, especially in Latin America, have been precisely those who refused to follow the dictates from the U.S. Why? Because people at the IMF and WB thought for decades the following: "if this model of economic development worked for us, we should just export it to other countries, and their economies will grow as ours". What happened? Countries are very different. Moreover, the situation in Latin America (and the world) today is very different from the one the U.S. had when it had a similar economic level. We cannot assume that the same model will work again, just as it hasn't worked for decades. The cultures are different. Histories are different. Poverty levels, education, religion, mentality... they are all different. If a country like Mexico wanted to progress, it should follow better the steps of Latin American countries that have managed to pay their debts and a positive commercial balance, such as Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia. Their situation is much more similar than that of Mexico, and if it worked for them, why should we follow what hasn't worked for decades?

We could be naïve, and think that people in governments are silly and they do not realize these facts. Or we could be cynical, and believe that the elites do it on purpose for their own benefit. In any case, Mexico should look more to the south and less to the north. And the U.S. would benefit more from allowing the self-determination of countries than blunt interventions, just look at Irak: they were better off, the U.S. was better off.

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