What ‘Made in Latin America’ should mean
Economists today still scratch their heads in order to make sense of occurrences like the rise of the Asian Tigers during the 90s, or the crisis currently befalling the EU, what they should do instead is draw a parallel between those and the situation in LatAm.
In it they will find many answers, because everything that comes out of this continent now is the product of 30 years of economic knowhow, 30 years of fighting economic adversity and 30 years of playing the game of the world economy without a handicap.
For Latin American economies, the 80’s are still referred to as a lost decade, properly poor fiscal management and an obsession for quick economic fix-ups instead of long term solutions, left the region with close to 0 growth. The crisis that the EU lives harkens back to this time, the aversion to austerity, the short term planning and the regional fragmentation all seems abstracted from LatAm’s lost decade.
How did LatAm pull itself out? Well, it didn’t, it remained absent during a time where innovation and integration to the world economy was extremely rewarding for States willing to invest in value added goods. South Korea, for example, was rewarded for its fiscal responsibility and entrepreneurial spirit, and their GDP per capita, which was nearly identical to the average seen in LatAm, shot up, and is now one of the highest in the world.
So instead, LatAm was left to claw its way back into the economic relevance the hard way. It might have been too late to join the ranks of industrial, tech-savvy nations the way the so-called Asian Tigers did it, if they wanted to produce and make money out of value-added, they’d have to do it through tough, shoulder to shoulder competition on the ruthless international markets.
That’s what made in LatAm should mean. Every single thing we produce and sell is the result of effort, product of a 30-year long search for atonement. Since the infamous lost decade, the entire region has taken every step to prevent it and instead has looked towards long-term growth strategies.
Even the fiscally irresponsible governments of the so-called pink tide, populist leaders in Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador among some debatable others, took note of the darker times and looked towards guaranteeing long term results by nationalizing precious natural resources.
Everything made in LatAm then, is a product of resilience, a result of learning from mistakes, a determined step in the path of most resistance. It is reasonable to look up to LatAm, because we have been 30 years fighting against the odds and we have built things that we can be proud of.