Where Are the Latin American Tiger Economies?

Figure 1.--Hong Kong is one of the Asian Tigers. Here is a street scene in the 1950s before capitalism began to transform the city into the eight mosy prosperous place on earth. And all without any natural resources--except economic freedom. .

I have more experience in Latin America. But after teaching school for 2 years in Ecuador I was drafted and sent to Korea (1970). Ecuador and Korea were very different countries, but they were very poor countries. If anything South Korea was even poorer than Ecuador. And Ecuador had important natural resources that South Korea lacked. But since 1970 there has been a remarkable change. In only a little over a generation, free market capitalism has thrust South Koreans from abject poverty into the prosperous middle class with life styles comparable if npt exceedomg Europrans and Americans (#2 Singapore --$94,500 and #8 Hong Kong -- $63,1000) South Korea comes in at #28 -- $40,100) below the United States and the major European couuntries, but comaprable to many European countries. [World Bank] The World Bank does not list Taiwan for fear of offending China. (Per capita income on Taiwan, however, is nuch higher than in China, even after their market reforms.) Thes e capitalist successes in Asia stnad in sharp contrast to Latin America. Outside of the Caribbean, the most prosperrous country is Chile with a per capita income of $24,200 a year. Of course Chile is the Latin American country which has most wholeheartedly embraced capitalism. Several other countries are in the $20,000 range, but most are below it. So the question becomes why have the Asian Tigers done so well and the Latin american countries done so poorly. Interestingly, while I often hear from left-wingers in Latin Americans and the United States, that America is responsibkle for the region's failure, it is notable that an important part of the success of the Asian Tigers was a close association and economuc ties with the United States.


World Bank (2018). This World Bank data is available on Wikipedia.


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Created: 6:44 AM 11/8/20199
Last updated: 6:44 AM 11/8/2019