March 13, 2017

The successes of leftist Ecuador

The Nation -  Ecuador’s experience shows that much of the rhetoric about how “globalization” restricts the choices of governments to those that please international investors is exaggerated. It turns out that even a relatively small, middle-income developing country can adopt workable alternative policy options—if people can elect a government that is independent and responsible enough to use them.   

Ecuador has cut poverty by 38 percent, increased spending on education and healthcare, and raised per capita income.

The results for the decade of left government in Ecuador (2007-16) include a 38 percent reduction in poverty and a 47 percent reduction in extreme poverty. Social spending as a percentage of GDP doubled, including large increases in spending on education and healthcare. Educational enrollment increased sharply for ages 17 and under, and spending on higher education as a percent of GDP became the highest in Latin America. Average annual growth of income per capita was much higher than in the prior 26 years (1.5 versus 0.6 percent), and inequality was considerably reduced.   

Public investment as a percent of GDP more than doubled, and the results were widely appreciated in new roads, hospitals, schools, and access to electricity.

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