Rapid growth in the 19th century placed Uruguay among the richest nations of the world on a per capita basis in the first half of the 20th, to slide into a period of decline for the rest of in the century. At the start of the 21st century, it once again experienced rapid growth, in recent years surpassing that of its neighbors Brazil and Argentina. While political stability and solid parties have distinguished it in the region, the 2019 elections will bring new parties and new candidates, making it timely to ask what made the Uruguayan experience possible? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Is a path towards an open economy possible for a small nation in a politically and economically unstable region?
Hernan Bonilla is Executive Director of the Center for Development Studies, a think tank in Montevideo. He has been active in both the private and public sectors. In 2007 and 2008, he won awards from the National Academy of Economics, of which he is a member. He is a professor of economics and society at the School of Administration and Social Studies of the ORT University. He is a columnist of El Pais, a major newspaper, and the author of How did we get to this State? State Institutions, Culture and Economic Performance in Uruguay. In 2016, he was a Smith Fellow at the Atlas Network.
Moderated and discussed by DRCLAS Visting Scholars: Rossana Castiglioni, Associate Professor of Political Science, Universidad Diego Portales in Chile; and David Altman, Professor of Political Science and Chair of Comparative Politics, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.