The June 3 article, “Latin America Comes Out Stronger from the Economic Crisis Because of the Growth of the Middle Class,” praises Latin America for the reduction in its unemployment rate as well as the growth of its middle class in the wake of the recovery from the economic crisis of 2008-2009. These are notable achievements. Additionally, the World of Work Report of 2013 notes that because of stable economic growth, Latin American countries left the global economic crisis in a stronger position than wealthier countries with advanced, developed economies. This article would have benefited from some comparison of the success of Latin American countries with the decline of the economies of many European countries, such as Spain.
Although the expansion of the middle class is an encouraging achievement, there still is room for much more growth and reform in Latin American economies. In another summary of the World of Work Report for 2013, the International Labour Organization warns of the existence of a “floating group.” This is a socioeconomic classification of people right above the poverty line that has grown in low and low-middle income economies from about 1 million people in 1999 to 2 million people in 2010. Although technically above the poverty line, this group is at-risk and not comfortably in the middle class. This group is also three times larger than the middle income group. Recognizing some of the dangers facing this group would have strengthened this article.
Alyssandra Jaquith, Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs
In response to the El País article: Latinoamérica sale fortalecida de la crisis por el aumento de su clase media (Translation: “Latin America Comes Out Stronger from the Economic Crisis Because of the Growth of the Middle Class”)
The Spanish version of this Letter to the Editor can be found here.
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