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Latin America under Fire! What is to Be Done?

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The past few months have witnessed violent demonstrations in several Latin American countries, including Chile, the only country from the region (other than Mexico) to have joined the OECD, the rich country club. Moises Naim and Brian Winter recently published a thoughtful article in Foreign Affairs, titled “Why Latin America Was Primed to Explode” (October 29), in which they make a strong case that following the commodity boom of the early part of the previous decade the recent past has seen a sharp deceleration of economic growth. "Against the backdrop of stagnating wages and rising costs of living, indignities such as inequality and corruption have become more difficult for many people to swallow," they persuasively argue. I put forward here some reflections on the economic growth debate and what this means for Latin America. 
What about economic growth?

Economists—I am one of them—have long studied and argued about the sources and consequences of economic growth. The great…

Searching for a New IMF Managing Director

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Christine Lagarde, departing International Monetary Fund Managing Director
With the forthcoming departure of Christine Lagarde to the European Central Bank, the IMF's shareholders are considering possible candidates to replace her. Given the central role the organization has played in recent decades in financial crisis management, a role that is likely to be enhanced in coming years, few of the high-level jobs at the head of international organizations are more consequential than that of IMF managing director (MD). What will be the key challenges facing the new MD? What are the specific reforms and priorities which he/she should push for? And, what are the qualities which the new MD should bring to the job?
Challenges
On the challenges, there are four that quickly spring to mind. The first one reflects the fairly dramatic shifts in economic and political power which have taken place over the past two decades, with China rapidly emerging as the world’s largest economy. Its contributio…

Want Less Poverty in the World? Empower Women

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Sean Illing of Vox (an American news and opinion website owned by Vox Media)
interviews Augusto Lopez-Claros, November 5, 2018.
The single greatest antidote to poverty and social stagnation is the emancipation of women. Wherever this has been tried, wherever women have been empowered to do as they wish, the economy and the culture have been radically improved.
A new book by Augusto Lopez-Claros, a senior fellow at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and Bahiyyih Nakhjavani, an Iranian writer and novelist, is among the first to comprehensively test this proposition by surveying data from 189 countries. Titled Equality for Women = Prosperity for All, the book shows how gender inequalities - in education, income, law, employment, and wages - lead to instability and chaos at almost every level of society.
I called Lopez-Claros to talk about the links between gender inequality and political instability, how discriminatory laws hold women back, and what we can do to pu…

Truth limps while falsehood flies

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