An Alternative Perspective
Edited by Erik S. Reinert
Chapter 5: Natural Resources, Industrialization and Fluctuating Standards of Living in Peru, 1950–1997: A Case Study of Activity-Specific Economic Growth
5. Natural resources, industrialization and ﬂuctuating standards of living in Peru, 1950–97: a case study of activity-speciﬁc economic growth* Santiago Roca and Luis Simabuko Peru’s recent economic policy, like that of most Latin American countries,1 has followed the so-called Washington Consensus. This set of policies precludes the implementation of strategic industrial policies or any active, deliberate construction of competitive advantages by promoting particular sectors or economic activities. In the Washington Consensus, all economic activities are seen as qualitatively alike. Indiscriminately opening any nation to the ‘magic of the market’ will allow that nation to acquire the necessary long-term external competitiveness, promote economic growth and enhance its standard of living, regardless of the country’s productive specialization. This chapter evaluates whether the type of productive specialization and trade in speciﬁc products has aﬀected economic growth and standards of living in Peru. It seeks to determine if the prevalence of producing or trading goods from speciﬁc sectors – whether natural resources, industrial or service – has an impact, positive or negative, on the people’s standard of living and well-being. To this end, we analyse Peruvian data for the last 50 years of the twentieth century, paying special attention to expansion and recession cycles and to industrialization policies implemented in Peru’s economy since the end of the 1950s. Our two core hypotheses, which are strongly related, are as follows. (1) In Peru during the last 50 years of the twentieth century, the standard of living was inversely related to the...
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