One of the highlights of this year’s World Economic Forum was the urgency of a new economic measure, able to capture adequately the economic situation of a country. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is not rising up to the challenges of the 21st century. In Davos, Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, IMF Head Christine Lagarde, as well as MIT Professor Erik Brynjolfsson, agreed on this issue and emphasized the value of finding a better measure of progress. Even though this is not the first time this concern has been raised, the increase of inequality, the worldwide crisis on immigration, the susceptibility of emerging markets to the volatility of commodity prices, the economic slow-down of China, the imminent collapse of Venezuela, and Brexit among others, have called the attention of academics and practitioners around the world to put urgently the discussion back again in the world agenda. Several reasons are brought up in this debate, but we specifically want to point out the necessity of a better measure of the economy that allows understanding the dynamics of growth and elucidates economic differences between places (countries, cities, regions).
The World Economic Forum in Davos last week gave me the opportunity to reflect on Latin America, its predicament and the lessons we should extract from the region's recent experience. I was asked to moderate a panel of Ministers from the region. Argentina was represented by my friend, colleague and co-author Federico Sturzenegger, the recently appointed President of the Central Bank. Brazil was represented by the newly appointed Minister of Finance Nelson Barbosa. Chile, Colombia and Peru were represented by my old friends and ministers of finance Rodrigo Valdés, Mauricio Cárdenas and Alonso Segura. Read more about Davos16: Latin American countries hit by low commodity prices but their performance is diverging