BPEA | 1984 No. 2

Latin American Debt: I Don’t Think We are in Kansas Anymore

1984, No. 2

BLAMING VICTIMS is an appealing evasion of responsibility, especially when the victims are far from virtuous. But when sins are as heterogeneous as those of the Latin American regimes of 1980, one wonders how well the exemplary mass punishment fits the alleged individual crime. Most Latin American economies, for a variety of domestic and external reasons, in 1980-81 faced the need for reform and adjustment to the new international economic environment. However, the response was slow, and policy errors continued to be made. Yet the incompetence and torpor of policymakers do not fully explain the depth of the depression of the early 1980s in Latin America and the mediocre outlook for recovery.