In Latin America, the dominant understanding of the relationship between trade and growth has evolved radically over time. This paper analyses the different approaches to trade and growth in Latin America from the end of WWII to the present day. Specifically, it examines the underlying rhetoric of these alternative approaches and the extent to which their rhetoric matched their understanding of Latin American reality. It is shown that throughout the period under study, the relationship between trade and growth was far from robust. In other words, the region has been unable to make exports the lynchpin of rapid long-run growth. Addressing this failure is one of the most urgent tasks confronting Latin America, and one which has received insufficient attention.
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