Decades ago, debates taking place among international organizations and countries around the globe were delayed in Latin America due to the dizzying implementation of neoliberalism. In Guatemala, these discussions were simply ignored: the country’s leaders faithfully believed in the directives imposed by international financial institutions, which were well suited to the “modernization” paradigm proposed by the country’s elites.
Ursula Roldán writes in El Faro on challenges and opportunities for Guatemala achieving sustainable development using reflections and proposals offered by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The writer offers responses to the three difficulties posited by ELCAC, namely:
The first difficulty is “structural heterogeneity”, which refers to large companies with high productivity but low levels of formal employment coexisting with high levels of informal employment characterized by low productivity. In Latin America, 99% of enterprises are categorized as micro, small or medium-sized, and 70% of employment is in the informal sector.
The second difficulty is the weakness of existing “welfare regimes”, which are the public policies that provide a minimum welfare level for most of its citizens. These policies protect the citizenry from unemployment, provide for them in sickness, old age, and maternity, and endow them with human capital through investment in health and education.
The third difficulty is associated with the two previous challenges and consists of inequality, which pervades almost all areas of society.
In response to these, Ursula Roldán outlines the following three strategies to form the core of any national debate about overcoming the current crisis, and preparing for future crises. First, reactivate the economy on the foundation of a third, integrated economic sector; second, address structures that generate inequality; and third, develop social policies that are not merely palliative, but that can overcome the ramifications of the nearly 30 years that have passed since the Washington Consensus.
You can read the full article, here, in El Faro, along with notes and images.