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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What Latin America Needs

Marifeli Peréz-Stable::

Latin Americans are concerned about jobs, poverty and low wages. Nearly 60 per cent said they had had an unemployed adult living in their household in the past 12 months. Even so, after two years of strong economic growth, expectations are on the rise: 54 per cent believed their children would be better off than they are today.

A majority, nevertheless, holds that democracy and the market provide the best way to make progress. Populism – which disdains the separation of powers and exalts the state as an economic actor – seems far removed from the good sense of most Latin Americans. Yet it can capture people’s imagination – as Mr Morales just proved in Bolivia. To deflect it, Latin American elites must redress citizens’ discontent within the context of democratic institutions and market economics.

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