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The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Stanford University Frank E. and Arthur W. Payne Distinguished Lecture Series 2008 “Economic Growth, Poverty, Populism, and Democracy” “Can the Poor Afford Democracy? A Presidential Perspective” Alejandro Toledo
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“Economic Growth, Poverty, Populism, and Democracy”
“Can the Poor Afford Democracy?
A Presidential Perspective”
Payne Distinguished Visiting Lecturer
CDDRL Visiting Scholar
Poverty and Exclusion Reduction
Poverty & Inequality
The conventional wisdom among most development economists and policy makers is that economic growth and increases in
income levels are the key, and at times the only crucial, components for any poverty reduction strategy. The literature on this is
abundant in Latin America as well as in USA, And Europe.
Less examined is the reverse proposition: That high levels of poverty and social exclusion may in fact constitute real impediments to achieve the needed social, economic, political, and legal stability for sustained economic growth and democratic governability in the region.
This development process perspective recognizes the existence of “vicious circles” in which low economic growth accentuates
poverty and high poverty, in turn, results in a low economic growth and fragile governability.
This study/book seeks to examine the ways and means to convert this “vicious circle” into “virtuous circle” in which poverty,
exclusion/inequality reduction, and sustained economic growth could support each other and strengthen democracy, thus
preventing the surge of irresponsible populism and destabilizing forces which undermine sustainable development.
Few times in its history has Latin America had the opportunity to make a qualitative
jump into a predominant role in the World Economy in the next 10 to 15 years.
However, This cautious optimism is not free of some significant challenges:
6.6 Billion World
2.6 Billion < $2/day
1.1 Billion < $1/day
0.5 Billion Latin America
18 Million in the world die of poverty
Peru 28Mil (.5% of LA )
4) Regions impatient with the democracy
5) High inequalities
6) Lack of availability of jobs,
Source: World Bank, Washington DC, National Institute for Statistics, Peru 2007
Can Democracy Afford To
Neglect The Poor?