Falling Behind

Falling Behind : Explaining the Development Gap Between Latin America and the United States

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In 1700, Latin America and British North America were roughly equal in economic terms. Yet over the next three centuries, the United States gradually pulled away, and today the gap is huge. Why did this happen? Was it culture? Geography? Economic policies? Natural resources? Differences in political development? The question has occupied scholars for decades, and the debate remains a hot one. In Falling Behind, Francis Fukuyama, acclaimed author of The End of History and America at the Crossroads, gathers together some of the world's leading scholars on the subject to explain the nature of the gap and how it came to be. Tracing the histories of development over the past four hundred years and focusing in particular on the policies of the last fifty years, the contributors conclude that while many factors are important, economic policies and political systems are at the root of the divide. Interestingly, while the gap is deeply rooted in history, they show that there have been times when it closed a bit as a consequence of policies chosen in places ranging from Chile to Argentina. Bringing to light these policy success stories, Fukuyama and the contributors offer a way forward for Latin American nations, to improve their prospects for economic growth and stable political development. Given that so many attribute the gap to either vast cultural differences or the consequences of U.S. economic domination, Falling Behind is sure to stir debate. And, given the importance of the subject in light of economic globalization and the immigration debate, its expansive, in-depth portrait of the hemispheres development will be a welcome addition to the conversation.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 162.56 x 236.22 x 30.48mm | 544.31g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • figures and tables
  • 0195368827
  • 9780195368826
  • 1,505,755

Review quote

a valuable contribution to the debate about Latin America. The essays are well written. * David Gallagher, Times Literary Supplement *show more

About Francis Fukuyama

Francis Fukuyama is Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy and Director of the International Development Program at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University. An internationally renowned author and scholar, his books include The End of History and the Last Man, State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century, and America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy.show more

Table of contents

Acknowledgments ; Preface ; 1. Introduction ; PART ONE: THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT ; 2. Two Centuries of South American Reflections on the Development Gap between the United States and Latin America ; 3. Looking at Them: A Mexican Perspective on the Gap with the United Status ; 4. Explaining Latin America's Lagging Development in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century: Growth Strategies, Inequality, and Economic Crises ; PART TWO: THE POLITICS OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT IN LATIN AMERICA ; 5. Does Politics Explain the Economic Gap Between the United States and Latin America? ; 6. The Role of High Stakes Politics in Latin America's Development Gap ; PART THREE: INSTITUTIONAL FACTORS IN LATIN AMERICA'S DEVELOPMENT ; 7. Institutions and the Latin American Equilibrium ; 8. Do Defective Institutions Explain the Development Gap Between the United States and Latin America? ; 9. Why Institutions Matter: Fiscal Citizenship in Argentina and the United States ; PART FOUR: CONCLUSIONS ; 10. Conclusion ; About the contributorsshow more

Rating details

36 ratings
3.27 out of 5 stars
5 14% (5)
4 22% (8)
3 47% (17)
2 11% (4)
1 6% (2)
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