Presentation at the Annual Progressive Forum, 2007 Meeting, Policies for Inclusive Development and Social Cohesión, in Santiago, Chile, September 27, 2007. Translated from the original Spanish.
I would first like to thank Fundación Chile 21 and all the other think tanks in the region who are hosting this Forum for their invitation to participate in this conference. It is an honor and pleasure for me to be here with you today discussing such an interesting and important topic.
As you can see in the program, I have been asked to talk about the debate in the developed world, and in particular in the United States, about a new economic consensus.
I am not an economist, but I am the son of an economist and one of the many things I learned from my father who left his native country – Colombia – to work for the committee of the wise men of the Alliance for Progress in what would become my native city – Washington, DC – is that those who are not experts in economics should not attempt to talk about economics. As such, today I am not going to talk strictly about economics or even the debate among U.S. economists regarding what the new economic consensus should be or about which model is the most adequate one for the economic and social development of Latin America. Those topics I will leave to the economic experts among us.
Instead, in the time that we have together I will try to focus on something I consider crucial to the theme of this conference; namely, the debates that exist, or do not exist, in the halls of power in the United States about what our relations with Latin America should look like after the Washington Consensus and what our development policies should be in the Americas, as well as the rest of the world. Most of all I will try to explain the key factors that limit and frame the context of the debate in the United States regarding these very important topics.