And now for Gore?

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Tue Sep 8 11:50:37 PDT 1998

Brad De Long wrote:

>I would agree with you were it not for the fact that in the broad Latin
>America (and Africa, and India) have done so badly in relative (and, in the
>case of Africa, absolute) terms since 1960 and East Asia (and southern
>Europe) have done so well. Import substitutions appears to be death to
>growth. Or, more accurately, import substitution pursued so far as to make
>it very difficult to import capital goods appears to be death to growth
>(East Asians grew very rapidly even with high tariffs on consumer
>goods--but they let capital goods in on close to free-trade terms)...

It's all a matter of how you measure good and bad, isn't it? Your average Mexican was better off during the days of import substitution than today, by a considerable margin; ditto Argentines and so on. We can talk about the contradictions and limits of the strategy, like its capture by a bunch of corrupt and/or incompetent local industrialists, but very few countries have succeeded (even by very conventional measures) at the export strategy (and with Asia in flames today, the number is smaller than it was 2 years ago). But since export orientation pleases the high & mighty, we never hear anything about its downside.


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list