Countries of the Future – Latin America?

Richard Florida, who I like and respect a great deal, says:

  • "The countries of the future: Australia, Canada, Sweden, and of course China and India (at a different level). The USA too, if it can somehow get its act back together. Sure America will never recapture its zenith, but it will remain the place for innovation and entrepreneurship – at least until the effects of the current global talent shift set in. I’d put that at a generation or so.
  • At the end of the day, I wouldn’t be betting on continents or even countries at all. Not in this spiky world. I’d bet on mega-regions. Europe has some good ones, Asia has a bunch, including some that are growing mighty fast.  North America retains the most.  Unless some sort of major round of institutional changes occur at the global scale, this spikiness will grow a lot worse."

What about Latin America? Recent travels to Ecuador and Mexico have piqued my interest. The growth of Spanish speakers in America and explosion of Latino culture more generally seems to play well for future cross-pollination between U.S. and Latin American economies.

Yet no one ever seems to talk about our neighbors down south. Michael Reid is author of a new book called The Forgotten Continent, and emphasizes Brazil:

If China was becoming the world’s workshop and India its back office, Brazil is its farm — and potentially its center of environmental services.

That quote is via Roger Cohen, who said in a recent column that "Latin America’s transformation in recent decades has been underestimated."

5 Responses to Countries of the Future – Latin America?

  1. Good point, but isn’t it true that a lot of development in Brazil is being driven by Chinese investment? I seem to recall reading that there’s a lot of handwringing down there about China’s tendency to treat Brazil has just a big raw materials plantation for use in making stuff back on the mainland.

    Hugo Chavez doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence about the future either.

  2. Ben,

    As another Florida fan, I am echoing your view + I agree with Paul Saffo, that, “…our world is moving from one of nation-states to one of city-states.”
    …. not such a new idea


  3. Read De Soto. You simply can’t have economic growth without property rights. Latin America has a notoriously bad track record on that score.

  4. Schneakers says:

    I agree that South America will eventually boom and become industrialized. Most of the world will eventually become industrialized the way globalization is occuring. I’d expect Africa to be last, but it will occur eventually…

  5. Hi Ben.

    Just finished reading your book. What a drive and passion. Congratulations!

    We here in Brazil are definitely in a trend where capitalism is really taking off. Like you, I talk to a lot of people and the “most experienced” says that the 21 years with military government put the people in a no-brain position.

    We, the new generation (I’m 28), are working to change this. And we will succeed and put our country on the radar 😉

    For now, as Derek Scruggs pointed out, we’re still raw material suppliers.


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