This volume is a by-product of the first in a series of faculty seminars on Latin America introduced in late 1965 at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Latin American Studies. The brief introductory essay by Cole Blasier, the director of the Center, skillfully summarizes the conclusions of the eight contributors, but his efforts to demonstrate the unity of these diverse conclusions are somewhat labored. Despite the title, “constructive change” is the major concern only of the three economists—John Powelson, Dwight Brothers, and Richard Thorn. Blasier argues that their essays “form the core of the volume.”
Powelson, in his essay “Toward an Integrated Growth Model,” analyzes the key issues that divide North American and Latin American economists—whether the terms of trade are moving against Latin America, whether structural rigidities make inflation necessary to economic development, whether foreign private investment is the best stimulus to economic development, and whether economic integration is primarily trade-creating or trade-diverting. After siding with the North American economists on all these issues, Powelson argues that Latin America’s questionable economic theories are nonetheless consistent with its long-term development aims, explaining that noneconomic variables (i.e., sociological and political ones) are an integral part of Latin America’s economic growth problem. Hence he urges “an integrated model of economic growth” for the unique Latin American milieu.
Dwight Brothers takes a laissez-faire view of the foreign private investment issue in his “Private Foreign Investment in Latin America: Some Implications for the Alliance for Progress.” He believes that it is ill-advised for Washington to provide artificial stimuli—that encouragement of the foreign private investor must be the sole responsibility of the host government.
Richard Thorn’s “Alliance for Progress: the Flickering Flame” is a brief economic history of the program through 1965. The establishment of economic and social goals, he believes, more than compensates for the disappointing progress thus far. He views achievement of economic and social goals as primarily a political problem. Hence he urges the Alianza to establish a political identity apart from United States foreign policy and to become deeply embroiled in Latin America’s domestic politics.
Sociologists Fernando H. Cardozo and José Luis Reyna document the extraordinary growth of the service sector and the curious lag of the manufacturing sector in Latin America’s industrialization process in their “Industrialization, Occupational Structure, and Social Stratification in Latin America.” They feel that Latin America’s emerging industrial society will be quite unlike that in the United States and Western Europe, and they reject the simplistic view of Latin American society as consisting of an enormous, povery-stricken mass held in bondage by a small wealthy class. They appear overly optimistic, however, about the immediate prospects for social integration.
As always, anthropologist John P. Gillan has something useful and interesting to contribute concerning cultural values. His essay on the Guatemalan lower classes points up the high value which they place upon physical labor, land reform, and improving their standard of living. Their women, he shows, are more independent than those of higher status. Germán Arciniegas examines the historical roots of participation by intellectuals in the politics of Latin America.
Political scientist James Malloy’s “Revolution and Development in Bolivia” is an imaginative, persuasive interpretation of the course of Bolivian history between 1952 and 1964. He shows how the development of the National Revolutionary Movement (MNR) into a nationalist, popular, reformist party in the post-Chaco War era led directly to its 1952 revolutionary triumph. He attributes its failure to the period immediately following, however, when irreconcilable interest groups caused progressive party fragmentation. As a consequence, the MNR leadership lost its grip on political processes and economic policy. As conflicting political demands broke down the consensus, and as consumption demands overwhelmed investment needs, an inexorable decline began which culminated in the military coup of 1964.
Although there are no historians among the contributors, all of them skillfully weave history into the methodology of their respective disciplines. Hence this volume achieves its objective of improving understanding via the interdisciplinary approach. The Pittsburgh Center is to be commended for a worthwhile publication. Readers of this one will look forward to additional by-products of its faculty seminars.