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Underdevelopment is a State of Mind: The Latin American Case Hardcover – 15 Mar 2000

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About the Author

Lawrence E. Harrison teaches at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. He resides in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8f11833c) out of 5 stars 15 reviews
50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f246468) out of 5 stars Thomas Sowell recommends it, and for good reason. 14 July 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Unlike one of the reviewers of this book which declared this book to reek of white supremacy stench, a portrayal which couldn't be further from the truth, I found this book to be very insightful and very well reasoned. I read this book as a recommendation from Thomas Sowell (a noted black economist and author of a trilogy on cultures - and one of my favorite authors and economists) and I found that he was right on the money with his recommendation. There is no reason in the world that any population, with or without natural resources, can't progress and become developed in a generation or -at most - two (as long as they have guarantee of liberty including the iron clad right to own property without danger of seizure from the government). The author reveals very well the stumbling blocks that prevent some countries from developing regardless of the billions given in foreign aid. Culture does play a part in this and in some cases - a major part. As an example, how do two countries of a comparable economic situation (Hong Kong - no natural resources - and Mexico - with considerable reserves of oil - in the early 50s) become so diverse in their development in a scant 50 years? Culture and economic liberty are an obvious answer. Do yourself a favor and read a copy of this book. It'll open your eyes utilizing clear and basic economics as to one of the root causes to third world poverty.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f2484ec) out of 5 stars Good analysts of root causes, & indirectly the solutions 26 May 2004
By Henry Cate III - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was first written in 1985 and revised in 2000. In a nut shell the author looks at the history of Latin America, and argues that the classic explanation of the Dependency theory of Latin America's poverty relative to the United States is wrong. For a long time many people in Latin America blamed their problems on the rest of the world, and often the United States was the source of most evil. This was victimhood on an international level.
Harrison argues that this is wrong, and shows how the legacy of the Spanish and Catholic influences has produced a culture that is anti-progressive. I was a bit surprised at how often he brings up the importance of child rearing practices. This is a very well researched book. It was well written. It was very thought provoking.
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f24857c) out of 5 stars It hits the nail right on the head. 17 April 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is so true I thought I was reading my diary. I have lived and worked throughout Central and South America since 1982 and until 1998. I have experienced, in daily contact, each and every situation presented. Unfortunatelly it is a borrowed book and no longer available.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f236840) out of 5 stars Excellent study of Latin American economies 7 April 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Harrison prepared a careful study of the social, cultural and religious causes of the underdevelopment of Latin American societies, especially Nicaragua's. Required reading for any open-minded student of Central and South America, as well as all Third World countries. Harrison shows how the state-of-mind of Third World inhabitants can result in continued non-development despite massive foreign aid infusions and revolutionary changes.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92b20ec0) out of 5 stars Yes ...it is !!! 21 Dec. 2003
By MADC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I read this book a long time ago ...I actually borrowed it from a friend at the USAID office in Santo Domingo and never returned it. It was an eye opener and at the same time a confirmation for a lot of our opinions. This book is ,a very clear
description of the underdeveloped mind...the way of thinking and of viewing the world that we inherited from our spanish colonial era. Not only religion is a burden...but also the
rent-seeking ,oportunistic and corrupt ways of our politicians ....and worst of all...that we the people..don't do a thing to end this mess.
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