by James Petras
Global Research, September 9, 2009
The current world recession and the potential recovery of some countries reveals all the weaknesses of the traditional “export market” – free trade – comparative advantage doctrines. Nowhere is this more evident than in the recent experience of Latin America.
Despite recent popular upheavals and the ascent of center-left regimes in most of the countries in the region, the economic structures, strategies and policies pursued, followed in the footsteps of their predecessors particularly in relation to foreign economic practices.
Influenced by the sharp demand and rise in prices of commodities, especially agro-mineral and energy products, the Latin American regimes, backed off from any changes in several crucial areas and adapted to the policies and economic legacies of their neo-liberal predecessors. As a result, with the world wide recession beginning in 2008, they suffered a sharp economic decline with severe social consequences.
The resulting socio-economic crisis provides important lessons and reinforces the notion that deep structural changes in investment, trade, ownership of strategic economic sectors is essential to stable, sustained and equitable growth.