This monograph is really a general introduction to Ecuadorean social, political, and economic trends since 1948; only the last chapter directly discusses planning. Earlier chapters focus on external dependence, internal inequalities, and political trends. Bromley’s contention that Ecuadorean governments have welcomed foreign investment and Western-style modernization is fundamentally bue. In the conclusion he expresses a preference for an alternative development strategy based on radical income redistribution, social mobilization, popular participation, and national self-reliance; but he recognizes that Ecuador’s conservative social and political structure offers little hope for adoption of such policies.
Bromley’s acquaintance with the social science literature on Ecuador is perhaps unsurpassed, but notable omissions in the bibliography include John Fitch’s research on the military and David Hanson’s on commercial and industrial elites. A geographer, Bromley is not always surefooted regarding economic policy. Criticisms of export-based strategies per se are probably better directed at decision-making processes determining the use of export revenues.
Bromley adds only modestly to existing information on Ecuador’s national economic planning, which is rightly viewed as halfhearted and ineffective. More of a contribution is his review of sectoral, regional, and local planning. Caveats notwithstanding, students of Ecuador will profit from this book.