Latin America is richly endowed with natural resources, fertile land, and vibrant cultures. Yet the region remains much poorer than its neighbors to the north. Most Latin American countries have not achieved standards of living and stable institutions comparable to those found in developed countries, have experienced repeated boom-bust cycles, and remain heavily reliant on primary commodities.
This book studies the historical roots of Latin America's contemporary economic and social development, focusing on poverty and income inequality dating back to colonial times. It addresses today's legacies of the market-friendly reforms that took hold in the 1980s and 1990s by examining successful stabilizations and homemade monetary and fiscal institutional reforms. It offers a detailed analysis of trade and financial liberalization, twenty–first century-growth, and the decline in poverty and income inequality. Finally, the book offers an overall analysis of inclusive growth policies for development—including gender issues and the informal sector—and the challenges that lie ahead for the region, with special attention to pressing demands by the vibrant and vocal middle class, youth unemployment, and indigenous populations.
Beatriz Armendáriz is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics at University College London and Research Affiliate at Harvard University. She is coauthor of The Economics of Microfinance (MIT Press).
Felipe Larraín B. is Professor of Economics at the Catholic University of Chile and Director of the Latin American Center of Economics and Social Policies (CLAPES UC). He is coauthor of Macroeconomics in the Global Economy and was Finance Minister of Chile from 2010 to 2014.
The microfinance revolution has allowed more than 150 million poor people around the world to receive small loans without collateral, build up assets, and buy insurance. The idea that providing access to reliable and affordable financial services can have powerful economic and social effects has captured the imagination of policymakers, activists, bankers, and researchers around the world; the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize went to microfinance pioneer Muhammed Yunis and Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. This book offers an accessible and engaging analysis of the global expansion of financial markets in poor communities. It introduces readers to the key ideas driving microfinance, integrating theory with empirical data and addressing a range of issues, including savings and insurance, the role of women, impact measurement, and management incentives. This second edition has been updated throughout to reflect the latest data. A new chapter on commercialization describes the rapid growth in investment in microfinance institutions and the tensions inherent in the efforts to meet both social and financial objectives. The chapters on credit contracts, savings and insurance, and gender have been expanded substantially; a new section in the chapter on impact measurement describes the growing importance of randomized controlled trials; and the chapter on managing microfinance offers a new perspective on governance issues in transforming institutions. Appendixes and problem sets cover technical material.
Rather than chronology, geography, or political successions, Eduardo Galeano has organized the various facets of Latin American history according to the patterns of five centuries of exploitation. Thus he is concerned with gold and silver, cacao and cotton, rubber and coffee, fruit, hides and wool, petroleum, iron, nickel, manganese, copper, aluminum ore, nitrates, and tin. These are the veins which he traces through the body of the entire continent, up to the Rio Grande and throughout the Caribbean, and all the way to their open ends where they empty into the coffers of wealth in the United States and Europe.
Weaving fact and imagery into a rich tapestry, Galeano fuses scientific analysis with the passions of a plundered and suffering people. An immense gathering of materials is framed with a vigorous style that never falters in its command of themes. All readers interested in great historical, economic, political, and social writing will find a singular analytical achievement, and an overwhelming narrative that makes history speak, unforgettably.
This classic is now further honored by Isabel Allende’s inspiring introduction. Universally recognized as one of the most important writers of our time, Allende once again contributes her talents to literature, to political principles, and to enlightenment.