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This overview of the country studies can offer several basic clues for predicting trends and outcomes. One is that Latin America's future development will depend on how these countries respond to the rapidly changing outside world. The latter brings frequent shocks over which Latin America has no control, such as the price of oil or an Asian financial crisis. There are also the often erratic messages from Wall Street, the World Bank, or the U.S. government.

Second, the capacity of Latin American countries to respond to the world economic trends will depend upon their ability to set their own developmental priorities. The information revolution is a prime example. Will Latin America adapt to this revolution rapidly enough? If not, it will be quickly marginalized in world commerce. And the key to information technology, as for all productivity gain, is education. Yet Mexico and Brazil, Latin America's most populous nations, cling to elitist approaches to education which leave their populations more than 20 percent functionally illiterate. Will they have created the human capital need to compete in the new millennium? The question will be how much these countries choose to use foreign resources, such as foreign investment, and how much of their domestic resources they will decide to mobilise for the badly needed investment. (Skidmore & Smith 2001, p410)

As we have seen, new suggestions have been put forward for a more socially aware pattern of economic and political reform in Latin America. This will boost human resources, buffer vulnerable groups, and place a new emphasis on investments which have high social returns (Lora & Panizza 2002, p25). Likewise, varying patterns of regionalism have been viewed as a way of enhancing localised decision making while opening up to globalisation, as well as balancing different north and south agenda in the hemispheric system of politics (see lectures 2, 10, 11). This is going to be a slow process, needing decades of consistent effort. However, the 21st century may very well be the time when Latin America as whole passes into a more developed status that is modern, resilient, moderately prosperous, and culturally unique.

5. Bibliography and Resources

Resources: -

A range of useful papers on economic and financial reform will be found at the Center for Economic Policy Analysis, at


A range of topical articles on Latin America, politics will be found in Le Monde diplomatique (in English) at http://MondeDiplo.com/]. Approximately one-quarter can be read without charge.

Most lectures from the Latin America in the International Relations 2006 subject will be soon come on-line in the International Relations Portal, via www.international-relations.com

A range of data and research on indigenous languages of the Americas can be found through the homepage of the Indigenous Languages Institute, located at http://www.indigenous-language.org/

Slightly dated but still useful annotated Reviews of Latin American Electronic Information, compiled and reviewed by Rhonda L. Neugebauer, will be found at http://home.earthlink.net/~rhondaneu/eresources/eresources1.html

New views on reform for Latin America will be found via the International Monetary Fund homepage at


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