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  • Author: Jamele Rigolini
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Latin America and the Caribbean is experiencing a dramatic surge of its middle class. In just a decade, the proportion of people in Latin America and the Caribbean with a daily per capita income (in purchasing power parity) between $10 and $50 a day went from around one-fifth to one-third. For the first time in history, there are as many people in the middle class as there are in moderate poverty (i.e., per capita earnings below $4 per day). This socioeconomic shift stems largely from the sustained rates of economic growth in the 2000s that in most—though not all— countries trickled down and generated higher incomes. But growth in the 2000s was not exclusive to Latin America and the Caribbean. While the industrialized world was facing a challenging decade, many emerging economies surfed past the global turbulences and continued to grow, lifting people out of poverty and feeding the ranks of their middle classes.
  • Topic: Poverty
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Maria-Eugenia Boza
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: There's been an amazing revolution in the global commercial landscape. The developing world has emerged as one of the most promising wholesale and retail markets. Many of these regions in the past were valued primarily as a source of cheap labor—often in maquilas and sweatshops. Today they are seen as a source of new consumers.
  • Political Geography: China, India, Latin America
  • Author: Alicia Barcena, Franciso Rivera-Batiz, Georges Haddad, Rebeca Grynspan
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Educational achievement has always marked and defined the middle class. Public policies that have led to mass access to education have led to a broad-based improvement in educational accomplishments, among them higher completion rates in secondary and tertiary education. This has led to more upward mobility in terms of earnings and types of occupation. Still, there has been an education depreciation effect. The higher the average years of schooling, the more demanding the labor market becomes in rewarding those educational achievements. Many non-manual jobs that require more schooling often see their rate of return to education deteriorate. As those non-manual jobs pay less for schooled employees, their workers fall below the income threshold characteristic of the middle class.
  • Topic: Education
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Alana Tummino
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Across Latin America, retailers, telecommunications companies and shopping malls are reaping the benefits of a growing middle class that is able to shop more and spend more. According to McKinsey Company, Latin America is one of the largest emerging markets in the world with a combined GDP of $3.2 trillion, boasting triple the GDP per capita of China and seven times that of India.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: China, India, Latin America
  • Author: Luis Cubeddu, Camilo Tovar, Evridiki Tsounta
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Since 2003, mortgage credit in Latin America has expanded at an annual rate of 14 percent (adjusted for inflation)—well above rates observed in emerging Asia but below the exorbitant rates seen in emerging Europe before its housing bust. The region's credit expansion has been accompanied by burgeoning real estate prices and construction activity—now representing more than 6 percent of GDP, higher than in emerging Asia or Europe. Mortgage growth has been particularly strong in Brazil, where the five-fold increase in mortgage credit since 2007 has been accompanied by a near tripling of house prices in the main metropolitan areas.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Hal Weitzman
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Latin America's political Left has displayed symptoms of bipolarity for much of the past decade. An early purveyor of this diagnosis was Jorge Castañeda, former Mexican foreign secretary (2001-2003), who in 2004 identified what he called "two Lefts" in a piece for Project Syndicate. One Left had "truly socialist and progressive roots" that was "following pragmatic, sensible and realistic paths." The other stemmed from "a populist, purely nationalist past" that had "proven much less responsive to modernizing influences."
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Anthony Bebbington
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The extraction of oil, natural gas and minerals is transforming Latin America. The conflicts that accompany this extraction have become part of the social and political landscape in much of the region. Some of this conflict has been violent. In June 2009, a confrontation between protestors and police in Bagua, Peru left at least 43 people dead, including 33 policemen. In September 2011, the Bolivian government cracked down on protestors who marched from Trinidad to La Paz in opposition to a highway designed to pass through the Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure (Isiboro Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park-TIPNIS) that, among other things, would have facilitated hydrocarbon extraction. Mining Watch reports that since 2008, four activists have been murdered in Cabañas, El Salvador, where Canada's Pacific Rim Mining Corporation hopes to open a new gold mine; local organizations believe these deaths are linked to the mining project. In the Cajamarca region of Peru, site of the Yanacocha gold mine, many activists and protestors have been harassed and some killed for over a decade.
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Rosemary Thorp, Jose Carlos Orihuela, Maritza Paredes
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: A country's ownership of rich natural resources is not necessarily a blessing. It presents a set of extraordinary challenges for policy makers. Bonanzas in foreign exchange all too easily create overvaluation and undermine efforts at economic diversification. At the socio-political level, mineral exploitation provokes intractable social conflicts, while the prospect of environmental contamination is ever-present.
  • Political Geography: Canada, Latin America
  • Author: Aurora Garcia Ballesteros, Beatriz Cristina Jiminez Blasco
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Latin America has historically played an important role in Spain's migratory cycles—both as a sender and as a recipient. Spanish political immigration to the hemisphere surged following the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) and again after World War II, when Spaniards flocked to Latin America for economic reasons. The flow reversed with the late-1980s economic crises in Latin America. Between 1996 and 2010, Latin Americans in Spain—measured by those who obtained Spanish citizenship—grew nearly tenfold, from 263,190 to 2,459,089. Now Europe's economic crisis, which has acutely affected Spain, is causing the flows to shift again. According to data from Spain's National Institute of Statistics (INE), for the first time in this century, more people are now leaving Spain than moving to it. Net migration in 2011 was reported at negative 50,090 people, with 507,740 leaving Spain and 457,650 arriving.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, War
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Spain
  • Author: Leani García
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: There's no denying it; whether it's share of trade or percent of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the hemi sphere, the U.S.' economic presence has decreased. Even when the U.S. didn't slip a place in terms of a trade partner, its overall share of countries' imports or exports declined across the board, while other countries' increased—especially China's. In the same period, in Argentina and Brazil, the share of U.S. FDI declined by 22% and 27%, respectively.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, Latin America