Not that Left Behind

February 26, 2010
By
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A feature on the New Yorker‘s Book Bench blog caught our eye today. “Books seem to be in dialogue,” they wrote. They offer, then, covers that reply to one another. Among the six books featured was Sebastian Edwards’s Left Behind: Latin America and the False Promise of Populism. His book was “responded to” by a memoir called “I want to be Left Behind: Finding Rapture Here on Earth.” Now, I haven’t read Brenda Peterson’s book, but I’m guessing aside from the title, it has little in common with Edwards’s.
In fact, our book has nothing to do with rapture, end times, or anything like that. In Left Behind, Edwards examines the political and economic history of Latin America, explains why the region has fallen further behind developed nations, and warns against the recent turn to economic populism. He argues the way forward for Latin America lies in further market reforms, more honestly pursued and fairly implemented; he also singles out Brazil, which under the successful administration of President Luis Inácio da Silva (Lula) has finally begun to show signs of reaching its true economic potential.
As the global financial crisis has reminded us, the risks posed by failing economies extend far beyond their national borders. Putting Latin America back on a path toward sustained growth is crucial not just for the region but for the world, and Left Behind offers a clear, concise blueprint for the way forward.

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