Grupo Vidanta Foundation scholarly works that support economic growth and the strengthening democracy in Latin America. An excerpt from “Falling Behind: Explaining the Development Gap between the United States and Latin America,” published by the Foundation in 2008, offers future generations lessons from the past:
“Prior to the arrival of Europeans in 1492, many parts of Latin America were richer than North America. Colonization, it is widely agreed, had a devastating impact on the welfare of the indigenous pre-Columbian populations in Mexico and the Andean region, as the Spanish set up an empire to extract gold, silver, and other commodities, much in the same way that the British and French colonization devastated the smaller number of indigenous peoples in North America. But initial conditions were not all that different in the two halves of the New World, in terms of either per capita income or economic structure. Both regions were predominantly agricultural economies and commodity exporters to the more-developed parts of the world. This situation persisted more or less through the end of the eighteenth century and the emergence of an independent United States of America.”
The book explores the historical context, the politics of the underdevelopment, and the institutional factors creating the gap between Latin America of today and its northern neighbor.
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