Can Latin America Weather the Death of the Blue Model? – The American Interest
Some call it “The Second Machine Age,” some call it “post-Fordism,” and some herald the emerging “information economy.” But no matter what you call the coming change, the march of technology will require a fundamental reorganization of how human capital is deployed in the economy, and nobody quite knows how to prepare for it. Latin America is especially vulnerable, and while the region’s economic leaders are officially optimistic, there’s also an unmistakable note of fear. . . .
Moreno is right to be sounding the alarm bell. Latin America never really managed to develop a successful and inclusive social and economic system in the age of the blue model—the “First Machine Age” when industrialization supported armies of well-paid manufacturing workers and clerical employees. The first-world countries of Europe, North America, and Japan built an age of middle-class mass prosperity in those years—and Latin America mostly had its nose pressed to the window, looking on enviously from outside.
Now, a new industrial revolution is challenging the blue model Fordist utopias of the First World—and Latin America faces changes for which it is poorly prepared. Let’s hope some of Moreno’s good advice is taken, and it’s certainly likely that some Latin American economies (like Chile’s) will do better than others. But from the standpoint of geopolitics and foreign policy, the most likely outcome is that in a large number and perhaps a majority of those economies the challenges of transition will not be met, or at least will be met more slowly than in other parts of the world.
My guess is that many areas won’t. The valuable part of this tragedy is that it foreshadows what’s going to happen here in the United States. It’s very difficult for a country to withstand a corrupt, elite class at the controls. Even more difficult when half of your citizens are rooting those same plutocrats on.