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Volume 61 / Social Sciences

ECONOMICS: PERU


CATALINA RABINOVICH, Independent Consultant


FOLLOWING THE SHORT, TRANSITIONAL PANIGUA GOVERNMENT, which took over after the scandalous end of the Fujimori regime, the Alejandro Toledo administration took office in July 2001. So far, the work of this administration has been directed toward implementing anticorruption measures, and has been very slow-moving on initiating economic policies to confront the serious issues of poverty and unemployment; the latter has fostered an amazingly rapid diminishing of people's confidence in Toledo. Without a real organized party to support him, Toledo has relied on friends and a variety of ministers and technocrats to run the country—with results as mixed as the quality of his choices. And, although macroeconomic numbers seem to be improving, Peruvians have good reason to remain distrustful: they remember how, during most of the Fujimori regime, those numbers seemed acceptable while the quality of life continued to deteriorate dramatically.

It is not surprising, then, that conscious researchers have been working in-depth on many more topics, resulting in a higher specialization of economic analysis. In addition to research on conventional themes of structural reform, stabilization, and globalization, the treatment of rural and agricultural issues has been impressively refined. Interesting works on such topics as mining and roads have been published by Bonifaz, Urrunaga, and Vásquez (item #bi2002004282#); Kuramoto (item #bi2002001645#); and Escobal (item #bi2002001641#). Several books cover gender issues, and the unavoidable topic of decentralization has been brilliantly addressed by Klauer (item #bi2002001631#) and Gonzales de Olarte (item #bi2002001632#). As time passes and many of these economic problems remain unsolved, labor issues in general and poverty in particular are being increasingly researched. Works dealing with microenterprises, microfinances, and microcredit have improved over the previous periods in quality as well as quantity.

Nonetheless, a jewel that brings to an end the myth of "the owners of Peru" (a reference to Los dueños del Perú, published by Carlos Malpica during the 1960s) is Enrique Vásquez Huamán's Estrategias del poder: grupos económicos en el Perú; through an in-depth study of the strategies that the most powerful economic families followed over more than a century, he shows how they became the main economic groups of Peru (item #bi2002001626#).


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