But I am not concerned with that here. This post is concerned with the internal problems with Latin American Import Substitution Industrialisation (ISI) policies.
Erik S. Reinert’s How Rich Countries Got Rich, and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor (2007) lays out the shortcomings of Latin American planning, as follows:
(1) Latin American Import Substitution Industrialisation (ISI) neglected the need for export-led growth in industries and the need to eventually drive these industries to compete on the world market. Competition on the world market was needed with policies to drive innovation, manufacturing productivity growth, and growth in market share. In other words, Latin American planners failed to understand the importance of Thirlwall’s law and Kaldor’s growth laws. Yet, at the same time, pure cut-throat free market competition was not the answer either, but rather gradually reducing protectionism and assisting industries when necessary with government intervention to promote their ability to compete.As Reinert notes, the East Asian nations like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan did the opposite of Latin America with respect to the things in the list above (Reinert 2007: 311–312).
(2) technology used in industries tended to lag behind the rest of the world;
(3) failure to create domestic industries that produced more of the technology and factor inputs used in major manufacturing industries;
(4) the type of industries created did not drive demand for large numbers of educated workers and technocratic professionals, and governments neglected the education of such people where there was demand for such workers;
(5) a higher degree of nepotism in the appointment of people involved in industry rather than meritocracy;
(6) problems in land reform and land distribution;
(7) income inequality and failure to expand internal demand restricted the domestic market for manufactured goods and hence capacity of the manufacturing sector to expand. That is to say, the home market remained small;
(8) profits increasingly derived from static rent-seeking;
(9) deleterious competition between producers and suppliers, when in fact intense co-operation (as in the East Asian model) works better by creating highly-integrated domestic supply chains (Reinert 2007: 311–312).
Had the planners in Latin American governments not made these mistakes early on, then Latin American industrialisation would have been much more successful, much like the case of East Asian development. Furthermore, since a number of Latin American nations are very rich in natural resources they would have been in a better position for long-run economic growth as compared with East Asia, which is resource-poor.
Reinert, Erik S. 2007. How Rich Countries Got Rich, and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor. Carroll & Graf, New York.
Realist Left on Facebook
Realist Left on Twitter @realistleft
Realist Left on Reddit
Realist Left Blog
Realist Left on YouTube
Lord Keynes on Facebook
Social Democracy for the 21st Century: A Realist Alternative to the Modern Left
Alt Left on the Internet:
Alternative Left on Facebook
Alt-Left on Google+
Alt-Left Closed Facebook Group
Prince of Queens YouTube Channel
Prince of Queens on Twitter
Samizdat: For the Freedom Loving Leftist
Samizdat Broadcasts YouTube Channel
I’m on Twitter:
Lord Keynes @Lord_Keynes2