A Large Middle Class in Latin America?

By: Daniel Nardini

A United Nations’ report released in Mexico City stated that by 2030, many countries in the Third World will have a large middle class. This will be especially true in Latin America and parts of Asia In fact, the middle class will probably be the single largest class in a majority of Latin America by that year, and this will help to keep more of Latin America stable. Is it possible that a large middle class will exist in Latin America in only 17 years? If present trends continue, this is a real possibility. What makes this possible where it has not been possible 30 years ago? With few exceptions, most of Latin America is now politically and socially stable. This has changed a great deal of things that was not true a generation before.

Thirty years ago, a good part of Latin America was ruled by dictatorships or were engaged in internal conflicts such as civil wars or brutal military suppression campaigns. With the exception of Colombia, this is no longer the case anywhere else in Latin America. Most Latin American countries have accepted democracy and free and fair elections. This has done more to bring stability than anything else. If people are stable enough to work and make a living, then they are able to grow business and employ others. While this has been true for people in North America and in Western Europe in decades past, it was not altogether true in most of Latin America and parts of Asia. Another important change has been the growth in foreign investment. Before, many business people would have been reluctant to invest in any part of Latin America. Now there are hundreds of thousands of investors in Lain America from the United States, Europe, and even China.

With greater social stability, there will be chances that more individuals will rise out of poverty and in turn invest in their own countries. Many parts of Latin America have resources as well as people with skills badly needed in a growing economy. More than many places in the world, many parts of Latin America have had political and social stability for a longer period of time, so by 2030 the majority of countries that shall boast of a significant middle class will be found in Latin America. But I am not sure if a majority of countries in Latin America will have a significant middle class in that short of time. Is is possible? One thing that should be true, and that is even if a majority of Latin American countries do not have a significant middle class by 2030, there will definitely be a larger and more prosperous middle class than it has had in its history. Two other things that will help the growth of a larger middle class in so much of Latin America will be the fact that much of Latin America, just like in Asia, will be the hub of an industrial and high technology revolution. There is no question that the face of much of Latin America will be changed by 2030.

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