This large volume is the second in a global series planned by the American Society of International Law under the general title of Studies in Foreign Investment and International Law. The first in the series dealt with India; others will include Mexico, Japan, and Nigeria. The countries selected so far suggest that the publishers of the series have given priority to those retarded nations offering the best prospects of economic progress. Colombia and Mexico, apparently considered more promising than other countries of Latin America, probably should feel elated.
Professor Wurfel and his associates have thoroughly explored the economic history of Colombia during the two decades following 1945. Their volume is divided into three major parts: (1) Colombia’s basic assets and liabilities; (2) Colombian development activities promoting investment; (3) Colombian legal institutions and their impact on private investment. The last of the three parts is longer than the other two. The main body of the book and its annexes contain significant statistical data and an excellent small map.
The study is obviously designed for trade and investment experts, but others will find it useful for reference purposes. The index is not exhaustive; the numerous alphabetical agencies, Colombian and foreign, perplex the reader; and the conclusions seem more optimistic than the facts presented actually warrant. Could this divergence be explained by the tone of the many sources examined and cited? Perhaps bureaucratic promulgations have been given too much weight! Nevertheless, this volume is an important contribution to the economic history of Colombia and clearly the result of industrious and sustained research.